Pluto Return

Since America has a unique Pluto return coming up in two years I thought it would be useful to look at the previous hard aspects — multiples of 45 degrees — of Pluto to its natal position over the course of US history.  As we go through these seven periods, one notices that events do not necessarily happen on the exact date of the return, but rather the hard aspect signals a shift in the future direction of the country that can be appreciated by looking backwards.  Sometimes these important changes had already started before the exact Pluto aspect, but the changes set in motion will be amplified in the years following the exact aspect.  And these shifts, as can be suggested by the involvement of Pluto, can be seen as a “transformation” in America.  Note that in the following Pluto makes either three or five exact aspects over the course of a year and I have chosen for illustration the one in the middle, with Pluto retrograde if there are only three.  The first aspect discussed is the opening semisquare with its natal position.




Opening Semisquare



This period saw the first wave of Americans who had been born after the Revolutionary War come to maturity.  It also saw three important changes which all bear the name “Revolution” and which were to change the face of the new country of the United States.  Since these were long lasting trends, it is impossible to give exact dates for them, even though a couple do occur.  These “revolutions” continued until the Civil War.

The Transportation Revolution was to change the way people moved about the country, most important to farmers — and most people were farmers then — who needed to get their crops to market in a timely manner.  The transportation revolution saw roads built to allow horse drawn vehicles to move swiftly to new regions, canals built, the most famous one being the Erie Canal in New York State, and most importantly the development of the steamboat which allowed quick transportation in both directions along that major waterway in the center of the country, the Mississippi River.  One landmark event in this transportation revolution was the first commercial steamboat trip at about 1pm 8-17-1807 by Robert Fulton, who had been developing the steamboat in previous years.  The trip went along the Hudson River from New York City to Albany and back.

There was also the building of roads, which was important if the people who lived in the West (that is to say west of the Alleghenies) were able to get their products to market and to get products from the East Coast so they did not have to be totally self sufficient.   The most famous of there roads was initially called the National Road and later the Cumberland Road (and it finally became Highway 40 — the Man Street of America that ran from Atlantic City, New Jersey to San Francisco, California). The National Road was created by an Act of Congress in 1806 but it took a few years before construction actually started.

The Communication Revolution changed the way people thought about daily happenings.  There were produced an increasing number of newspapers in the early years of the Nineteenth Century.  Steam powered presses were initially developed in England; those presses allowed many more copies of a newspaper to be printed in a given period of time, and so many more people could read that newspaper.  Photography was developed in a few years after the date shown, and that changed the way people saw their world.  Telegraphy was developed in a couple of decades, allowing near-instantaneous communication, a development as far reaching as the Internet is in the present day.

Perhaps most far-reaching was the Market Revolution, which turned the United States into a full-blown capitalist country, and to use historian Richard Hofstadter phrase, changed the country from a democracy of fraternity into a democracy of cupidity.  Laissez-faire capitalism was a relatively recent phenomena at that time, since Adam Smith’s groundbreaking book The Wealth of Nations was published in 1776.

While the Industrial Revolution first started under the Uranus-Pluto conjunction in the early Eighteenth Century, it was jealously guarded by England.  The Industrial Revolution first came to America in 1790s in Rhode Island with pirated technology.  The technology had been brought to America by Samuel Slater, who was called by President Andrew Jackson the father of the American Industrial Revolution.  His design was copied and spread in the following years as America (and the world) joined the Industrial Revolution.

Another, totally unrelated change to America at this time, was the ending of the Atlantic slave trade.  In the years following the Revolutionary War Northern States had abolished slavery.  Then in 1808 slaves could no longer be imported.  But slavery was still a thriving business in the South, and as the nation expanded, it was expected that many of the new states would allow slavery, so the question became where would the slaves come from. Thus in the Southern states a going business arose of breeding slaves to produce more that could be sold for a profit.  For more details of this horrific practice see The American Slave Coast by Ned and Constance Sublette.




Opening Square


The Mexican-American War took place in 1846-48, and expanded the continental United States to essentially the size it is today.  This was a big increase in the size of the country.  Then gold was discovered in California (before the war was over and California was part of the United States) on January 24, 1848 which soon started a huge rush of gold-seekers into California.  Oregon Territory was also added, after settling a dispute with Great Britain that had also claimed the Pacific Northwest, at roughly the same time.  Thus the next few years after 1849 would see a major expansion of the United States, after Texas, California, and the Pacific Northwest were brought in.  This expansion would bring the issue of slavery to the fore, since questions arose whether the new states would be slave or free, and the attempts to deal with that would lead to the Civil War in another dozen years and the birth of a new political party.



Opening Sesquiquadrate


This was a period a long enough after the Civil War that many of America’s leaders were thinking of expanding the country beyond its bounds, to have colonies in foreign lands just like many European countries.  A war of independence broke out in Cuba in 1895 (the third in the thirty years) and soon America got involved fighting Spain over its colony in Cuba, and as a result of the easy victory in that conflict, American found itself with foreign colonies: Guam, Philippines, and of course Cuba.  The decision was made that America was to be an empire, an important change in the consciousness of America.

Alfred Thayer Mahan published his very influential book The Influence of Sea Power Upon History: 1660-1783 in 1890. People like Henry Cabot Lodge and Theodore Roosevelt immediately got the idea of expanding America’s influence to have overseas colonies, like the European powers did, and they saw with the Cuban revolt against their Spanish masters a change to get involved in the Great Game.  The ramification of this decision would bedevil America up unto the present day.

An important Supreme Court decision happened in 1896 which influenced race relations until another decision in 1954.  The was the case of Plessy v Ferguson which was an argument against segregated railroad cars.  The result was that “Separate but Equal” became the standard for the land, enforcing the use of “whites only” facilities.  The ruling of Brown v Board of Education (of Topeka) is widely seen as the first blow against that 1896 decision.

In 1890 the Census Bureau declared that the frontier was closed.  The Native Americans had been subdued and most of the land settled.  In 1893 a historian from Wisconsin named Frederik Jackson Turner proposed his “Frontier Thesis” which stated that the expansion of the frontier made American democracy and shaped American character; this thesis was later expanded to a book, and it altered the way historians and thus Americans in general looked at the past.



Pluto Opposition


This Pluto opposition to its natal position occurred during the New Deal which was the biggest change in the country since the Civil War.  This New Deal of Franklin Roosevelt was a response to the Great Depression which was the largest financial crisis the country had yet seen.  The Great Depression, which began in October of 1929, was not amenable to standard measures.  After Roosevelt took office in 1933, he instituted measures suggested by various third parties, such as socialists.  Laws passed under his administration gave the US Social Security and made it much easier for Unions to do their job.  By 1937 the Depression had been ameliorated so much that FDR held back on some limits, which resulted in a resurgence of the depression; this depression was not  finally ended until the increased defense spending needed for World War II.  This  “military Keynesianism” has never stopped.

The results of this period were to influence America through the administration of Richard Nixon, who was called the last New Deal President by Noam Chomsky. This was more than 35 years after that Pluto opposition, which indicates how strong the effects of that opposition were.  They lasted until the closing square in 1983, as explained below.


Closing Sesquiquadrate


Interestingly, the first of the three exact aspects occurred on October 10, 1963, about six weeks before President John Kennedy was killed.  This Pluto sesquiquadrate occurred just as the Uranus-Pluto conjunction was forming.  The Pluto-Pluto aspects indicates the changes that were coming in this decade, which would alter the way the country saw itself.  Notice also the square between Pluto and the Ascendant: America was trying to force its will on a Southeast Asia country, and the results were not pretty.  The Vietnam War would continue for the next ten years.



Closing Square


This aspect is near the beginning of the Reagan Revolution, the start of the Age of Reagan that we are still in.  There was also a Saturn-Pluto conjunction at the same time, the last one before the conjunction at the beginning of 2020.  There were so many changes that started in this period it is difficult to list them all.  This was the start of neoliberalsim which has been discussed extensively in this blog.  This was the closing square between transiting Pluto and natal Pluto, and the country (and the world) were changed massively by the actions of Reagan and his supporters, which turned out to be most everyone.  If one does not take account of neoliberalism in the years since this square, ones analysis will be as vacant as an analysis of a fish which does not recognize that it lives in water.



Closing Semisquare


On August 23, 2001 Pluto went retrograde within ten minutes of conjunct the Ascendant and also a closing semisquare to its natal position.  This was shortly after the last exact pass.  Not only did this period see the selection of George W. Bush as President by the Supreme Court of the United States, thus avoiding a recount (there was an exact pass on November 29, 2000) but also the beginning of the War of Terror.  At the same time there was a Saturn-Pluto opposition, the middle of the cycle that started under the previous hard Pluto aspect mentioned above.  The War on Terror would be one of the dominant motifs of the next 20 years, not only in America, but in the rest of the world as well.  Many nations used America’s War on Terror as an excuse to also crack down on “terrorism”.

You will notice that the first half of the Pluto Cycle is from 1776 to 1937, a period of 160 years, and the second half will end in 2022, a period of 85 years, or almost half of the first half period.  This is because Pluto has a very eccentric orbit and moves faster when it is close to the Sun.  Pluto was inside the orbit of Neptune from 1979 to 1999 and thus was traveling the fastest at that time.



Pluto Return


This actual return occurs one week after the 246th Fourth of July, the second of three exact conjunctions, all in 2022.  There is also a stationary direct Pluto which is within half a degree of its natal position during the fall of 2023.  From looking at the previous aspects, we can guess several things about this upcoming Pluto Return.

The effects of this Pluto Return — a conjunction to its natal position — will start before the exact conjunction, but we will not be able to see the indicators until after the exact return has happened, with the benefit of hindsight.  This return will be a transformative event for the United States, changing the country in ways that people can not see now, but afterwards everyone will say “it was so obvious, you could certainly see it coming”.  The effects of the return will extend well after the conjunction, perhaps many decades.  And since I believe that the conjunction is the mother of all aspects, this transformation will be greater than those we have seen in the various aspects described above.

Uranian sidebar: For those who use the eight hypothetical planets of Uranian astrology we see an important conjunction coming up.  As illustrated in the graphical ephemeris below, at the same time that the Pluto Return is happening — 2022 and 2023 — we also have the hypothetical planet Kronos conjuncting the Sun of the United States.  In the illustration below, Kronos — whose symbol is a cross with a hat on top — moves very slowly over the golden dashed horizontal line representing the natal US Sun.  The standard meaning of this conjunction is a president or leader, someone with high authority.  The planet by itself represents everything above normal, high up, excellent.  Perhaps this conjunction will mean that America will once again be a force for good in the world, a massive transformation (Pluto return) from what it is now.



Kronos Conjunct Sun


Political Parties and American Exceptionalism

These two concepts — political parties and American exceptionalism — came into popular consciousness at about the same time, shortly after the birth of the United States and the beginning of the French Revolution.  These important changes to the newly born United States are signified by a powerful transit of an outer planet over the Moon that has not been repeated.  The Moon represents the people of a country, but it also signifies something more intangible — the basic concepts/consciousness of the people.

It is well known that political parties were not allowed for in the Constitution.  When that was being written in the latter part of the Eighteenth Century it was not thought that factions were needed, and in fact George Washington was assigned as the leader of the new country.  But that changed, and now we have basically two political parties: the Republican party, established in 1854 out of several minor and dying parties that existed at the time, was considered the “anti-slavery” party at the time of its creation.  The other big party now is the Democratic Party, considered the world’s longest lasting political party, and thought to be the “pro-slavery” party before the Civil War.  Democrats like to say they were founded by both Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson, but that myth is only half true.  When Andrew Jackson first ran for President — in the 1824 election — he said he was dedicated to the Democratic party of Thomas Jefferson, but the party formed around him was certainly different than the party of Jefferson.  And in fact this Democratic Party, the one we now know, was essentially created by the Little Magician Martin Van Buren, who was Jackson’s Vice President in his second term and then President in his own right for four years after that.  Van Buren never got a second term, partially because of a financial crisis called the Panic of 1837, which was caused by, inter alia, Jackson’s war with the second Bank of the United States, a concept dreamed up by George Washington’s surrogate son Alexander Hamilton.  Martin Van Buren, as his name suggests, was of Dutch heritage, and was the first President not to have an English background.  He was also the first president born in the United States and not a colony of Britain.

Even though political parties were not in the original plan, there was a division early on over the Constitution.  These two factions were called the Federalists – those who supported the Constitution, which was originally suppose to be an update of the Article of Confederation — and the Anti-Federalists, who were against the Constitution as proposed and wanted more power to the states, which was what the Articles of Confederation — the law of the country before the Constitution was written — provided.  The group that wrote the Constitution were originally chartered just to revise the Articles of Confederation, which could only be changed by unanimous vote, but instead decided to create a whole new document, which of course did not achieve unanimity.

The Federalists considered themselves the elite of the country, and after the citizens of the country voted for a Federalist candidate, it was felt by the elite that democracy was over.  They felt that only special people had qualification that made them suitable to be in government.  To use a current term, the Federalists considered those citizens who were not in the elite classes to be deplorables.

But during the last decade of the Eighteenth Century, and especially during the second term of George Washington, several “political clubs” were formed, often under the instigation of Washington’s Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson.  These organizations were called by such names as the Republican Society, the Democratic Society, etc.  The Federalists, which was the name given to the political faction which had George Washington as its representative, did not like these clubs.  Jefferson had seen political clubs in Revolutionary France when he was an ambassador there, and thought they would be a good idea in his native country.  He saw that the elite ignored the wishes of the common folk and so they needed something to represent them.  Jefferson was aware of the elitist tendencies of the people in power — too early to call them a party — and, along with James Madison, urged the non-elite to take powers into their hands.  The best known of the political clubs in France was called the Jacobins.  These political clubs caused newspapers to form supporting those clubs.  Republican newspapers grew in this period and those newspapers served a a push back to the Federalists.

This ferment and dissatisfaction with the way things were, the control of the government by only one faction of the populace, led to the rise of political parties, and the first such party was the Democratic-Republician Party of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. This party was to win its first election in the hotly contested election of 1800.




This upheaval among the population of the United States, which led to such a fundamental change, is shown astrologically by the very slow transit of Pluto across the Moon of the United States.  Here is a chart for the beginning of those political clubs in 1794.  Note that for this chart Pluto is conjunct the natal Moon with an orb of only two degrees, while at the same time Uranus is opposite the Moon with about the same orb and thus we also have Uranus opposite Pluto.  This Uranus Pluto opposition was also prevalent in the French Revolution which was taking place at the same time across the Atlantic.  In fact, the day Louis XVI was executed (January 21, 1793) the opposition was exact within one minute.  As was seen during the decade of the Sixties, Uranus-Pluto aspects can be powerful.  This opposition was one cycle before the opposition in the first decade of the Twentieth Century and a cycle and a half before the conjunction of those two planets in Virgo in the Sixties.




By looking at the graphical ephemeris for a several year period we can see that the Uranus Pluto opposition lasted for about six years — 1789-1795 — and the Pluto conjunct the US Moon from about 1793 to 1799, that is to say most of  last decade of the Eighteenth Century.

When American was a new country, it really did not have an unifying philosophy, something that could bring the wealthy who essentially wrote the Constitution, and the common folk who populated the country, together.  Thus the concept of American Exceptionalism, the belief that America was a unique country designed to lead the world in a burst of democracy, arose.  It was thought by French revolutionaries, English dissents, and many Americans that the American Revolution was followed by the French and then certainly other nations would follow those two.  Thus there sprang the belief that America was the forerunner and the French were next, and soon the revolution would sweep the world.  America was exceptional, and a model for the entire world, it was thought at the time.

One can say that American Exceptionalism began in Europe.  The revolutionaries of France admired the youth and vigor of the American experience.  One writer, Elisabeth d’Houdetot, wrote to Jefferson in 1790 admiring the Americans for not having an old regime to destroy, as was the case in France.  Granted, the French were unaware of the daily savagery of the use of slaves, and the ill-treatment (that is genocide) of the native population.  This certainly aided the French (and also British dissenters) in picturing America as grand and successful experiment.

American Exceptionalism served as “national religion” that bound together the citizens of this new land when nothing else would.  The citizen were proud that America was a shining light in the world and that it would lead other nations to a revolution.  Thus the populace of the Eighteenth Century America were unified – they had a common purpose.  All the countries of Europe had a common heritage, and while the Federalists were taken by the British, from whom they rebelled, this was not good enough for the deplorables.  So because of the French Revolution, Americans were united in believing that they lived in an exceptional country.

A Trinity of Nuclear Explosions

We now all live in the Nuclear Age, and we can not comprehend a world where nuclear bombs do not exist.  But it has not always been that way.  The first three nuclear bomb explosions — what I am calling a trinity of nuclear explosions — are what put humanity into the Nuclear Age.  These explosions all took place in a one month interval, a very important month for the world.  And the nice thing about these nuclear explosions, as far as astrologers are concerned, is that they were well timed so we can do accurate birth charts for these three events that ushered in the Nuclear Age.

The first of these three was actually called Trinity, and since it was the first — people did not know if it were possible before then — it is in some ways the most important, even though it is relatively little known compared to the other two, which followed the month after Trinity.  The name Trinity came from a poem (Holy Sonnet 14) by metaphysical English poet John Donne who lived in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries.  The name was chosen by physicist Robert Oppenheimer who had worked on the bomb and was present in New Mexico.



Trinity Nuclear Explosion


After being developed for years, the first nuclear explosion was achieved in the New Mexico desert fifteen seconds before 5:30 in the morning of July 15, 1945.  At the same time the Potsdam meeting between the leaders of the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union was happening to plan out the shape of the world after World War II.  Remember that in those days people did not fly to reach overseas conferences, but rather took ships that took longer in transit than airplanes.  In this case it took Harry Truman and his assistants eight days to reach the conference in Germany, which had been defeated two months earlier.  Truman brought with him many aides who had strong anti-Soviet stands, and they encouraged him in his toughness towards Stalin.  The meeting had been postponed by Harry Truman in order for the results of the Trinity to be known.  It has been reported that Truman’s demeanor towards Stalin became more assertive after news of the success of Trinity reached him at the conference.

The explosion was successful and surprised many who were there.  Oppenheimer later said that a line from the Hindu scripture Bhagavad Gita “I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds” came into his mind after seeing the success.  There are actually three films (three different cameras) on YouTube of the Trinity explosion, in black and white.

Looking at the Trinity chart, two things stand out immediately; Saturn at the Ascendant, less than a degree into the first house.  And remember that this is an accurately timed chart!  The other thing immediately apparent is the opposition from Neptune to the Midheaven.

The tightest aspect is the sextile between Venus and Pluto.  Saturn on the Ascendant is the feeling of being frustrated, according to Ebertin.  Neptune at the nadir, the point opposite the MC, suggests the sense of confusion and lack of clarity surrounding this event.  Many of the scientists involved thought the bomb should be used in a demonstration for the Japanese to witness, where the military men wanted to use the bomb directly.  The scientists were frustrated in their desire, even though they made entreaties to government officials.



Trinity Sixth Harmonic


This tight sextile prompts us to look at the sixth harmonic chart, which proves very interesting.   In this chart we see Saturn conjunct the Ascendant opposite the Moon conjunct Uranus at the Descendant.  And of course Venus and Pluto are tightly conjunct, something we should except since in the first harmonic chart they are sextile, which is the sixth harmonic aspect.  Notice especially the Saturn-Uranus opposition, less than thirteen minutes from exact, which indicates some odd multiple of thirty degrees in the first harmonic.  Looking back at the first harmonic chart, we see that Saturn and Uranus are semisextile (angle of thirty degrees) with orb of two minutes.  Think of two consecutive signs — the nature of the thirty degree aspect: they generally have little in common.  It has been said that each sign rejects the nature of the previous sign.  The semisextile, as well as the corresponding aspect of 150 degrees (the inconjunct) has a separative nature.  In this case, this aspect merely accentuates the nature of Saturn and Uranus.  Or, in plain English, this aspect, and the event it represents, show a large contrast and conflict between the old — Saturn — and the new and/or revolutionary, that is Uranus.

Once the atomic weapon was proven to work by the Trinity explosion — before that moment people were not sure that the atomic weapon would work, and some even thought that the test would ignite the atmosphere or some other horrible thing — there was the expectation among many US officials that the bomb would actually be used.  The actual dropping of an atomic bomb on an enemy occurred about three weeks later at the Japanese city of Hiroshima.  Hiroshima had been protected from most of the bombing of japan by conventional bombs that had destroyed large parts of cities like Tokyo.  The people of Hiroshima wondered why they had been so lucky, but their city was just one of a list of Japanese locations that were “saved” in case the atomic weapon proved to be useful.




At 8:15 in the morning the B-29 bomber named — for the pilot’s mother — Enola Gay dropped a Uranium bomb called Little Boy on the city of Hiroshima.  In an unusual move, there were no dropped leaflets warning the city residents of immediate destruction and the need to evacuate.  The bomb exploded over a hospital in the center of the city, immediately killing all patients, doctors, and nurses.

This chart for the first use of an atomic weapon on a target has some fairly obvious indicators.  This chart is the most blatant of all the three charts.  Note Uranus at the Midheaven loosely conjunct Mars, Saturn conjunct the Moon, and Pluto conjunct the Sun.  Pluto conjunct the Sun says a Plutonian event occurred on this day, or in other words an atomic explosion.  Saturn conjunct the Moon refers to suffering (Saturn) of the people (Moon) which one can assumed happened that day at Hiroshima.  And Uranus is conjunct the Midheaven at less than a minute of arc and Uranus was exactly on the MC three minutes later.  This aspect says that there will be a Uranian event at this location and minute.  Note that the Hiroshima bomb, unlike the Trinity and Nagasaki ones, was a Uranium bomb rather than a Plutonium bomb.

Uranium is the last (number 92) known element for most of history, just like Saturn was the last known planet for most of history.  Plutonium (number 94) was artificially created.  Just for interest, the element between — Number 93 — is called Neptunian.  These elements are created by a nuclear reaction, and as of writing the last element is 118 which as yet does not have a name.  A couple of these artificial elements have been discovered in nature, created by natural nuclear reactions.




On August 9 another B-29 called Boxscar (Bock’s Car) carrying a heavier bomb called Fat Man flew over another city in Japan — Kokura — and attempted drop that bomb, but the city was obscured by clouds and by the smoke from a nearby city which had been bombed by the Americans the night before.  After three tries and running low of fuel, Boxscar flew on to the second possible target — Nagasaki — only to find it also obscured by clouds.  Just in time a hole in the clouds opened that allowed the bomb to be dropped but not over city center.  The bomb was dropped over Japan’s largest Christian community which was north of the city center.  The bomb was almost twice as powerful as the one dropped over Hiroshima.

In the Nagasaki chart, Sun is still conjunct Pluto, not surprising since this event was only three days after Hiroshima, so the Sun had move about three degrees.  The Mars conjunct Uranus is a little tighter.



Nagasaki Fifth Harmonic

I found something very interesting when I looked at the fifth harmonic chart for the Nagasaki explosion.  I think of the fifth harmonic as a Uranian harmonic, just as the seventh harmonic is associated with Neptune. Various example of the fifth harmonic havve been given: Once John Addey, the father of harmonic astrology, wrote an article about the fifth harmonic and its association with red hair.  It is a harmonic concerning senses, and for example Helen Keller has a degraded fifth harmonic chart.  Others, for example David Cochrane, have associated it with power.  One could connect the fifth harmonic and the number five in numerology.  But in any case, the Nagasaki bombing has a strong fifth harmonic chart: Pluto is conjunct the Ascendant quite tightly; Moon and Uranus are also tightly conjoined, and that conjunction is opposite Neptune, also tightly.  That opposition forms a T-square with Pluto on the Ascendant, tying all those planets and points together. Just the Pluto Ascendant aspect suggests a Plutonian event in this place, and in fact this was a Plutonium bomb.  Those other planets bring in change and deception.




The fifth harmonic corresponds to quintiles (72 degrees, a fifth of a circle) and the biquintile aspect.  Here is a first harmonic chart with the quintiles drawn in in purple-blue.  We see the quintile between Pluto and the Ascendant and a quintile between the Moon and Uranus.  There is also a loose quintile between Nepturne and the MC.  So as I’ve said before the fifth harmonic doesn’t show anything that is not already in the first harmonic chart.  Harmonic charts just allow us to see these aspects more easily.

America’s Core Planets

In the United States chart used in this blog, known as the Sibly Chart, named for Ebenezer Sibly, an astrologer at the time of the American Revolution who created it, there is a conjunction of Jupiter and Venus that is conjunct the most important point of any astrological chart, the Sun.  This conjunction occurs in any chart drawn for early July 1776.  That the Sun is the most important point should be clear from the prevalence of “Sun-Sign Astrology” in newspapers and cocktail party chatter around the world.  As has been mentioned several times, the conjunction of Venus — the Lesser Benefic — and Jupiter — the Greater Benefic — can be thought of as double-plus good, as George Orwell might have called it in his most famous novel.



America’s Core Planet


Having this wonderful combination – Sun, Venus, Jupiter — together can make one wonder if the time for the official birth of the United States was planned in advance, since it is certainly the most auspicious combination one can imagine.  Or maybe America is just that lucky!

This triple conjunction has proved to be very beneficial to the United States: It has made it a very popular country with the rest of the world, attracting many immigrants and producing popular movies and computer products.  The Internet was developed in the United States.  And we could go on and on.  If you live in the United States, you know the drill.  As time has passed, the United States has not been the only source of these things as other countries developed.  And of course the country was protected by the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans from much of the death and destruction that took place in Europe, certainly very beneficial to the development of the United States.  This allowed the US to become the world’s most powerful country after World War Two.

But other, not so desirable characteristics come from having this triple conjunction.  For example, it is possible for a country with this combination to think that it is special, God’s gift to the world, the only indispensable nation, perhaps even exceptional.  As President Obama said in an address to the UN in 2013, “I believe that America is exceptional” which only repeated what all Presidents must say.  With this, shall we say, heightened self worth, such a nation would take great umbrage if someone threatened that self conception of being exceptional.  And such a threat could be indicated by a hard aspect of Saturn, that wily taskmaster, to that triple conjunction.

During these transits we can see two possible responses.  One is an attempt to expand the limits of American behavior: We are the most important country in the world and so let’s push the bounds, to see how much we can get away with.  Let’s invade some other country or foment a coup!  The other response is to feel that the world is attacking the United States (How Dare They!!) and to fight back or to remind the citizens of how noble their country truly is.  Perhaps something has happened either internally of externally to rain on the parade of the United States, to make it doubt its self-worth — with Saturn square the Sun natally, this is easy to do.

I talked about this in a recent post.  Here I want to explore that transit in more depth, showing the cases of Saturn conjunct or opposite to the US core triple conjunction.  These transits of Saturn take two or three years to complete.  For the charts below, I chose the time when Saturn was conjunct or opposite the middle of the three planets involved, Jupiter, so one can extend the time period to 18 months before and after the date shown in the chart.  The accompanying graphical ephemerides will make the period clear, with the first contact/close approach with Venus indicated with the black arrow and the last contact/close approach with the Sun shown by the red arrow, although the orbs would allow a few months before the first and after the second, as you can judge from the images.  Since Saturn takes just under thirty years to go around the Sun once — think Saturn Return — these periods of conjunction/opposition take place every 15 years or so.  There may be things happening to America during these periods that make the citizens of the country depressed, feeling that they are not worthy or having troubles.  Or perhaps the “leaders” of America decide that now is the time to show the force America can bring to bear.  We will see examples of all of these responses in the cases below from the Twentieth and early Twenty-First Centuries.




Saturn Opposite Core 2018


Right now America’s “chattering classes” are having a collective conniption fit because Donald J. Trump is President of the United States.  This can not be, they keep telling themselves.  He’s so blatant!  He’s not polite!  Before the election, people were warned that he is not a politician.  And with the death of George H. W. Bush, we can see what they mean.  This Bush was certainly racist — witness the Willie Horton ad — and started more wars than Trump has so far done.  Who can forget the little excursion into Panama that killed 3000 people (not the “official” number) in an attempt to remove a CIA operative (remember that H.W was the head of the CIA for a year in the Seventies — though of course he is never referred to as a “CIA thug”) who no longer took orders.  And who can forget the first Gulf War, moved forward by the lie that Iraqi soldiers were dumping babies in incubators on the ground to die.  The person who delivered this warning to Congress was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador, and thus far from an unbiased observer, but never mind.  And then, in what must surely rank as an immense war crime, action was performed by troops under Commander in Chief Bush on what is called the Highway of Death.  Retreating Iraqi soldiers and civilians were trapped on a road back home from Kuwait City after planes exploded cars at both ends of the highway. These were retreating people after the war was over.  There proceeded to be a rush of planes (there was even a traffic jam over the highway as so many wanted to get in on the action) that destroyed every vehicle and human being on the highway.  The cliche “Shooting fish in a barrel” was never so apt.  Certainly a noble mission for America.

Though George H.W. Bush only became director of the CIA in the Seventies (under President Gerald Ford) he had been working with/for the CIA for 15 years, since the early Sixties.  Fun fact: George Herbert Walker Bush is one of the few Americans who was an adult on November 22, 1963 who does not remember where they were on that day.  He says he was “somewhere in Texas”.  This has given rise to many conspiracy theories.  In addition, in a recently published article, investigative reporter Seymour Hersh reveals that Bush made the Iran-Contra scandal (where the Reagan administration was selling arms to Iran (which was illegal at the time) in exchange for money for the Contras who were fighting in Nicaragua to overthrow the government there) public in order to avoid damaging a covert operation he was running out of the Pentagon.  This is the George Bush so many are now lionizing on his death.

George H. W. Bush is also famous for saying, when he was still vice president, “I’ll never apologize for America.  Ever.  I don’t care what the facts are”.  The occasion for this outburst was when a US Navel ship (the captain later got a commendation) shot down an Iranian civilian air liner over Iranian air space, killing almost 300 people.

But to use proto-punk rocker Neil Young’s phrase, George H. W. Bush had a kinder gentler machine gun hand.  He was a politician so he knew how to speak, as was shown in the hagiographies to him.  Trump is not a politician, and so he says things without understanding that he is giving away the secrets: you can do horrible things as President of the United States, but you have to pretend that you haven’t.  Don’t be blatant about it.  And of course always pretend to be polite.  I am reminded of the quote from I.F Stone: How do you know if a politician is lying? If you see his lips move.  But now the cat is out of the bag.  No wonder the War Party is upset!





This extended discussion of George H. W. Bush not only illustrates the complete coverup of his crimes on the occasion his death during this current transit of Saturn and thus he is being sanctified as a noble representative of the best of America, but will also apply to the activities at the time of the first Gulf War, as we shall see later.

Current events are providing such a wealth of examples of American behavior during this Saturn transit as indicated above that it is hard to limit oneself, but I’ll offer only one other case, since it is so obvious to anyone who is not immersed in the blob (or is it the borg?) of Washington, D..C.  But first a little background.

In America’s long running war in Iraq, aka the Second Gulf War, one of the worst massacres occurred in the city of Fallujah, a crime that ranks with Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.  The leader of the troops during this assault was a man called James “Mad Dog” Mattis, who is also called the Butcher of Fallujah.  Much radioactive dust, in the form of depleted uranium weapons, was dispersed, and as a result the incident of birth defects is much higher in that city than the rest of Iraq.  And other things were done a well, such as firing on ambulances and aid workers, and preventing civilians from escaping the city, that are considered war crimes.  Under the Trump administration, “Mad Dog” was appointed to the post of Secretary of Defense, with little protest.  Recently, “Mad Dog” Mattis was fired from that position, and the howls from the Washington establishment, both Republicans and Democrats, was defeating.  Mattis is now being held up as a paragon of virtue, one of the few remaining individuals to uphold America honor.  It is a very surprising response to a war criminal, and only shows how out of touch the Establishment really is.  Even more strange in this period of the Saturn transit is that people who were once firmly anti-war and now strongly pro-war.




Saturn Conjunct Core 2003


This period occurred after the attack on 9/11/2001, but those attacks were still so recent that people felt that America was under siege by the rest of the world, and allowed strange things to happen, such as the passage of the Orwellian named Patriot Act that curbed civil liberties.  But it also saw the invasion of Afghanistan (as Uranus transited the US Moon) and the buildup to and invasion of Iraq.  A huge protest around the world happened against the invasion of Iraq at this time. This was back at a time when America was only involved in one war and there was still a large group of people opposed to the upcoming war.  America had a real anti-war movement at the time of the Second Gulf War, but the war went on nevertheless.



Like father, like son.  We see now the rehabilitation of George W. Bush, who once was considered to have created the worst US war catastrophe in many decades with this war.  But no longer.  He is now the “partner in crime” (one wonders what that really means) with the former first lady, and he charms people by passing cough drops to her.  This is probably an attempt to sanitize his war crimes, which were promoted by the very same media who now promote Russophobia and a new Cold War.  But this time it is different!!!




Saturn Opposite Core 1989

The First Gulf War was started by George H. W. Bush under dubious pretenses as shown above, and afterwards that President said “By God, we’ve kicked the Vietnam syndrome once and for all” which may have been his hope and intention from the beginning.  This war was started at the beginning of August 1990 and lasted 7 months.  And there was also the invasion of Panama (“Operation Just Cause”) which was suppose to prove also that America still could invade another country.  This was in December 1989. See discussion above.





There was also the Savings & Loan meltdown which was the biggest bank collapse in American since the Great Depression.  It had been developing for several years, and finally came to a head in 1989.  Over 1000 S&L executives were put in jail.  To understand just how large this was, realize that in the even bigger financial scandal in 2007-2009, not one executive was put in jail, just a few low-level people.




Saturn Conjunct Core 1974

Watergate was the scandal that occupied American in 1973 and 1974, leading to the resignation of Richard Nixon from the Presidency, and so Gerald Ford, who was never elected on a Presidential ticket, became President of the United States, a historical first.  And following this resignation, there was the Church committee (and later the Pike committee) to investigate crimes of the CIA and FBI.  Americans were feeling bad about their country, and then in April of 1975 there was the wholesale retreat of American soldiers, and any civilian they could take along, from Vietnam.  America felt it had lost its first war, and all kinds of reasons were offered to explain this terrible defeat.  The “Vietnam Syndrome” arose, causing Americans to be cautious about entering another war in a far-off land.





There was a recession running from late 1973 to early 1975, which certainly fits this period.  Some of the causes were the oil crisis of the early Seventies, which caused a 55 mph speed limit to be instituted in the United States (to much consternation), and gas was hard to come by, with some customers only being served on alternate days based on their license plate.  Americans for the first time realized that there was not an infinite supply of “stuff” they needed for their daily routines.  President Richard Nixon had taken the US off the gold standard and essentially ended Bretton-Woods with a speech in August of 1971 which caused further economic shocks whose repercussions lasted for a long time.  New York City was close to declaring bankruptcy, and the headline in the Daily News for Oct 30, 1975, the day after Ford made a speech denying funds to New York City was: “Ford to City: Drop Dead” .  And there was “stagflation” and high oil prices.  America was at a low ebb.




Saturn Opposite Core 1959

On October 4,1957 the first satellite was launched into Earth orbit, and this satellite — Sputnik I — was not launched by the Americans.  After that followed several American attempts to launch satellites that failed, resulting in further humiliation for America.  Here was the greatest country in the history of the world, one thought, and it was not able to launch a space satellite.  And this feat had great implications for America’s imposing defense system: If we couldn’t even launch a satellite, we must be fairly weak when it comes to launching a missile or fighting a war was the obvious conclusion.

Then there was supposed to be a summit meeting between the American and Russian leaders, but the shoot down of a US spy plane — the U2 — over the Soviet Union put a kibosh to those plans.  Again, a typical citizen thought, how could the most exceptional country lose a plane over the supposedly primitive Soviet Union.  The world was not working out a it was suppose to, Americans thought.





The Fifties were coming to an end, and there was restlessness in the populace.  This was soon to be displayed by the election of a new President.  Shaggy people called beatniks (after sputnik) were seen lurking in coffehouses and reciting obscene poetry, such as “Howl” by Allen Ginsberg.  This too was upsetting to some Americans, making them wonder what was happening to their country.




Saturn Conjunct Core 1945

World War II had already gone on (as far as Americans were concerned) for several years, and still there was no noticeable progress until D-Day in 1944.  Most did not realize that the Soviet Union had done the heavy fighting with Germany for several years.  And the Japanese seemed intractable.  But there was a steely determination on the home front to win the war.

But at a larger scale, FDR saw that this was a chance to display America’s dominance of the Post-War world.  But in April of 1945, Franklin Roosevelt, who had been President for a dozen years, died and an untested Missouri politician was put in his place.  Americans wee not sure how this would go down.





And then the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japan made made Americans wonder if the world would survive.  This was a shock to those Americans who thought that once the war was over everything would go back to “normal”.  The new world after the war turned out to be anything but normal.





This was certainly a crisis for the American spirit; we’ve all seen the photos of people on the breadline or trying to sell apples.  The Depression for America officially started in late October of 1929, and over the next few years, under President Herbert Hoover, things really did not improve.  But there was much revolutionary activity on both the left and the right, as the populace got increasing disgusted at the way things were.  There was a strong Communist party in America, and a strong semi-fascist movement such as radio preacher Father Coughlin and Huey Long the governor of Louisiana.  America was at a crossroads, and the election of Franklin Roosevelt saved the capitalist system in America.








Saturn Conjunct Core 1915

As you can see from the graphical ephemeris, this Saturn transit lasted from the beginning of the war through the election campaign for Wilson’s second term.  He campaigned on “He kept us out of War”.  But the Lusitania, a large British ocean liner carrying many US citizens, was sunk by German U boats in 1915, and that was a downer for Americans.  Until 1982, it was believed that the Lusitania was only carrying passengers and not munitions as well, thus the sinking of the Lusitania was a war crime committed by Germany.  This loss of American citizens due to German hostility angered the US public.  The sinking put further pressure to enter the war, but not until the last few months of the war did Americans see combat.








Saturn Opposite Core 1900

In the early phases of this transit, American, as detailed previously engaged in a war with Spain and decided to become an Empire.  But then the President of the United States was assassinated and a new, quite different leader took over.  This was after two previous Presidents had also been assassinated in the last 35 years.  A war was being waged in the far off Philippine Islands, and it was quite brutal.  And then a new Century was dawning, and this also caused Americans to feel apprehensive.  Cinema and the automobile were just a few of the inventions that were threatening the old established order that people had known for so long.





Saturn had been on the Ascendant and opposite Pluto a few years before this period took place, just like Saturn had been on the Descendant and opposite Pluto a few years before the period described under “2003” above.  In some ways that period is an echo of this one, with an entirely new Century opening up once again.

Recent Saturn-Pluto Cycles

The prototype of a planetary cycle, the period between one conjunction to the next of any pair of planets, is the lunar cycle, something that humanity has been intimately familiar with for millennia.  The lunar cycle starts with the New Moon — a conjunction the Sun and the Moon — then precedes through the opposition of the Sun and Moon — called the Full Moon — and then goes on to the next conjunction, that is the next New Moon.  Symbolically, the cycle starts at the conjunction, and whatever the cycle represents reaches a culmination at the opposition and then precedes to gather resources in preparation for the end of this cycle and the beginning of the next cycle with the next conjunction.  This “Lunation Cycle” has been spelled out in detail by renowned astrologer Dane Rudhyar in a book of the same name.

But this cycle from conjunction through opposition to conjunction can be looked at with any two planets.  The Jupiter-Saturn cycle was explored in a series of posts about Watershed Elections a couple of years ago.  Since we have recently explored two Saturn Pluto oppositions in a post called “Bookends of the American Empire“, I thought it would be interesting to explore recent Saturn-Pluto cycles, especially in light of the fact that we are ending one of these cycles and thus startling a new one in a year.

After the Saturn Pluto opposition in 1898, which was discussed previously, and which saw the Spanish-American war, the war in which the United States divested Spain of its colonies in the Caribbean and Pacific, the next conjunction of Saturn and Pluto was in 1914 at 2 Cancer, that is near the Cardinal axis.  This Saturn-Pluto conjunction saw the start of World War One.  (Of Interest, the closing square of those two planets corresponded exactly to what is called the Panic of 1907 in the United States, where the stock market lost 50% of its value in three weeks and a wealthy individual had to bail out the US.)  This is illustrated in the chart below.  This is only one of many examples as to why Saturn-Pluto has such a fearsome reputation.



World War


When these Saturn-Pluto aspects are looked at in light of the relations between Russia and the United States, this conjunction heralded the first Cold War, after the Russian Revolution of 1917.  Immediately after that revolution a civil war broke out in Russia and American President Woodrow Wilson, along with many European nations and Japan, sent troops to fight on the non-Communist side in that Civil War.  After that the United States refused to recognize the Soviet Union until President Franklin Roosevelt took office in 1933, near the time of the opposition mentioned below.

This Saturn-Pluto cycle lasted until the end of the Second World War, in 1947, so it covered the period of both World Wars.  This particular Saturn Pluto cycle can be considered the “World War Cycle”.  Some authorities consider the Second World War to be merely a continuation of the First World War, with a brief intermission — the “Roaring” Twenties — between the segments.  For America, which only got involved in the First World War in the last year, the Second World War did not start until Pearl Harbor was bombed at the end of 1941.  But officially the Second World War started on September 1, 1939 when Germany invaded Poland.  But the war had been raging long before that, though it wasn’t called a war: Japan invaded China early in the Thirties; in Spain, Franco, with the aid of Hitler, was fighting the Spanish Civil War in the middle Thirties.



“Full Moon” for Saturn-Pluto


The midpoint of this “War” cycle happened in 1931.  This was the equivalent of a Full Moon in the lunation cycle, the peak of the energy that started at the conjunction.  The culmination of this cycle, with the opposition of Saturn and Pluto, is illustrated in the above chart.  The first obvious event happening in 1931 was the worldwide Great Depression that was reaching its depths in the early Thirties.  This year also saw the rise of fascism in Europe, with for example Hitler being elected Chancellor of Germany in January of 1933.  In Asia, Japan took over parts of China with the invasion of Manchuria on September 19, 1931.  So the clouds of war were gathering at the opposition which would result in the Second World War in a few years.  Notice that Uranus is square Pluto, Uranus is sesquiquadrate Neptune, and, though the orb is very large, Pluto is semisquare to Neptune, the three aspects that highlight the Great Depression, though all three are not always in orb for the whole period.



Great Compression


The next conjunction followed directly the end of World War II in 1947.  This corresponds to, among other things, the rise of the Cold War (or the Second Cold War, if we consider the First to be the one after the previous Saturn Pluto conjunction) between the United States and the Soviet Union.  In the United States, this Cold War is seen as exclusively the result of the expansionistic tendencies of Stalin and the Soviet Union (see for example any book by John Lewis Gaddis), but a more balanced appraisal would see that a badly crushed Soviet Union, whose territory had been ravished by the Germans and had lost on the order of 27 million people, was hardly in the same league as the United States, which had recently dropped two nuclear weapons on a defeated enemy.  The Soviets desperately wanted the security that could be provided by a border of friendly nations, which just happened to be those invaded by Soviet troops during World War II since the West was in no hurry to come to the aid of the Soviet Union in its fight with Germany.

The next Saturn-Pluto Cycle lasted from 1947 to 1982.  This was a period called by the French Les Trente Glorieuses – the thirty golden years following the Second World War (see for example Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century) when inequality in many countries of the world was reduced.  So I believe that this second Saturn-Pluto Cycle of the Twentieth Century was a period of economic compression, called the Great Compression by some economists.  This was a period when the views of such people as Lord Maynard Keynes of Britain were given credence, and activities like the Bretton-Woods Conference set up an economic program for the whole world.  Major decolonization took place, such as India becoming an independent nation, and the State of Israel was proclaimed out of what was formerly part of the Ottoman Empire before World War I.  Victory in the Chinese Civil War for the Communist side was only two years off and that victory caused repercussion among the masses of Southeast Asia who had just thrown off the yoke of European colonial powers.





The culmination of this cycle, when Saturn was opposite Pluto, was in 1965, just as the Vietnam War was starting to heat up — the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was passed in the US Senate August of the previous year.  This was an obvious manifestation of the Cold War which had started with the conjunction eighteen years earlier.  There were many urban riots in the United States, such as Watts Riot in August 1965, Detroit Riot July 1967, Newark July 1966.  Civil rights leader Medgar Evers was killed in June 1963 in Mississippi; the Birmingham, Alabama church bombing occurred September 1963; Chaney, Goodman,and Schwerner were killed in June 1964, also in Mississippi.  There was a coup in Indonesia October 1965 that killed between half a million and a million and a half and set the stage for a dictatorship in Indonesia that lasted over thirty years, almost until this century.





The next Saturn-Pluto cycle, which started in 1982, and which we are still in, was totally different.  No longer a great compression, but rather a great expansion, as Neoliberalism started to take off under Margaret Thatcher in the United Kingdom and Ronald Reagan in the United States.  This was a period where the wealthy 10%, 1% and most especially 0.1% increased their share of the wealth.  While their share of the wealth increased from the early Eighties, this increase in inequality really took off after the Great Recession of 2008.  This can be seen as the Neoliberal cycle.



War on Terrorism


The culmination of this cycle was discussed previously.  There were three Saturn-Pluto Oppositions.  Here is a chart for the second, on November 2, 2001.  For any astrologer at the time, it should have been obvious that something momentous was going to happen in late 2001.

Mea Culpa: I did not see this happening myself, since at the time I favored the Gemini Rising USA chart, if I even thought about a chart for the United States, and even though I had read the Dane Rudhyar book (Astrology of America’s Destiny) that promoted the Sibly chart, and at the time I thought little of Saturn and Pluto transits, and hadn’t looked at any past transits.  But 9/11 seemed such a big event to the United States that it must surely show up in the natal chart for that country, and show up in an appropriate way.  Jupiter transits wouldn’t cut it.  The aspects to the Sibly chart, as shown in the last post (and very similar to the chart above) are the most appropriate transits possible.  If one were to make up the transits for such an event, nothing would be more fitting than the actual chart.  Pluto on the Ascendant describes 9/11 to a tee.

We are now in the last year of this “Neoliberal” cycle of Saturn and Pluto, and the results of the reign of capital over the previous 35 plus years is becoming painfully obvious.  We are seeing the dregs of our long bout of neoliberalism coming to an end with a strong hangover.  People are starting to vent their anger in many countries, to the obvious displeasure of those elites who profited so handsomely over the Saturn-Pluto cycle now coming to an end.

But another Saturn Pluto conjunction is happening soon, just a year away.  What will the new cycle bring?  My guess is that it will see the end of Neoliberalism, the hallmark of the previous cycle, but we will also see the end of other trends that have manifesting themselves recently.  Whatever it will be, the upcoming period will be different than the preceding 35 years.




In this case the conjunction only happens once.  This is followed by a conjunction of Jupiter and Pluto three times, followed by a single conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn at 0 Aquarius on the Winter Solstice.  This new cycle of Saturn and Pluto, starting in 2020, corresponds to the Zeitgeist Change that I wrote about for several months.  This will be a preview of all the changes coming our way.  One can see that conjunction as the “opening gun” for the big changes to happen in the third decade of the Twenty-First Century.  Since two other important cycles are also stating at about this time, the Jupiter-Pluto and the Jupiter Saturn conjunctions, change will be the hallmark.  The Jupiter-Saturn cycle was discussed at length in post about Watershed Presidential elections and 2020 will see another Watershed Election.  In the chart for the single Saturn-Pluto conjunction on January 12, 2020, we see that both the Sun and Mercury are conjoined Saturn and Pluto.  This quadruple conjunction is also configured with the United States chart, as shown below.  It is trine the US Saturn, opposite the US Mercury, and sesquiquadrate the US Uranus.  So this Saturn-Pluto will definitely affect the US, in ways we can’t see yet.  Not shown is the inconjunct (quincunx – aspect of 150 degrees – separation or adjustment) between the multiple conjunction and natal Mars, suggesting the military and war will be involved.  Also emphasizing this fact is that the antiscia (reflection over the Cancer/Capricorn axis) transiting Mars is on that super conjunction.



Upcoming Saturn Pluto Conjunction


So what we have is Saturn and Pluto, which can be dire, but then Jupiter comes along, changing the gravity of the situation. My feeling for the Pluto-Saturn conjunction is that it will be the culmination of a crisis already developing, something involving violence or war (viz. Mars).  This crisis will be so close to fruition, only saved by the oncoming Jupiter, that the peoples of the world will be scared out of their standard thought processes and there will be an opening opportunity to explore some new options.  Jupiter will save us from the developing catastrophe signaled by the first Saturn-Pluto conjunction in 38 years.  After the Jupiter-Pluto conjunction comes the single Jupiter-Saturn conjunction that sets the stage for the next twenty years.  The first decade — the 2020s — will be the expansion decade: think the decade of the Sixties — and the second decade — the 2030s — will be the contraction decade: think the decade of the Seventies.  It will be a truly historic two decades for the world, one that will be long remembered, if possibly only by the cockroaches.

All of these transits are shown in the two-year graphical ephemeris below. The single conjunction of Saturn and Pluto happens first, shown by the black arrow at the beginning of 2020.  Then comes the three Jupiter-Pluto conjunctions; the first of these conjunctions is at the red arrow at the end of March.  Finally there is the single Jupiter-Saturn conjunction shown by the green arrow in December of 2020.  2020 will be a packed year!



2020 Conjunctions

Bookends of the American Empire

While America has always been an expansionist nation, witness the Louisiana Purchase, the Adams-Onis Treaty (which gave the US Florida and defined the border between Oregon and what has become California), the addition of Texas, and most obviously the War with Mexico,  and this was all before the Civil War, America was not an Empire, and it had no colonies overseas, that is outside of North America.

But this changed at the end of the Nineteenth Century, and there was an exact moment when the decision was made within the government of the United States that America should become an empire, only fitting for an up and coming powerful country that was surrounded by other powerful countries that had their own colonies.   If one looks at a map of Africa from around the turn of the Twentieth Century, it is obvious that Africa had been divided up amongst the European countries.  This has been discussed before, about the time when the continent was divided up formally among the European powers.  But America was not part of the game.  Spain had been the first major European colonial power at the end of the Fifteenth Century, and it had been joined by Great Britain, France, Holland, Germany, Portugal, and Italy.

But America finally got its chance, and the name of that opportunity was the Spanish-American War, which was won by America — Spain at that time was a fading power on the world stage — and thus as part of the victory the United States got Spain’s colonies, not only Cuba, over which the battle was fought, but also Guam and the Philippines.  The Secretary of State at the time was John Hay, who had started out in Government as secretary to Abraham Lincoln.  (For an interesting portrayal of the young John Hay, read the novel Lincoln by Gore Vidal.)  Hay, who referred to the Spanish-American War as a “splendid little war”, wrote an important document in US diplomatic history called the Open Door Notes.  In this document, he declared that the rest of the world should allow an Open Door with regards to China, a weak (at the time) power that European colonies had already latched onto.  The Notes, first issued on September 6, 1899, wanted those other powers to make room for the up and coming power of the United States.  This was essentially a statement that the United State planned to become an Empire also.



Open Door Notes


Here is a chart for the issuing of Open Door Notes.  There is nothing really spectacular about it.  At noon — a good approximation of when it was issued — the Moon was transiting the Midheaven of the United States, appropriate for something that would influence and color the behavior of the country for the next 100 years.  The important Neptune-Pluto conjunction of 1890 is just starting to separate, but still in the “New Moon” phase.  Saturn is in the First House, a few degrees beyond the Ascendant; this was a legal (Saturn) document that had important consequences for the country, at the time only a generation removed from the Civil War and the technical end of slavery, and facing the future of the Twentieth Century.  A long time depression (Panic of 1873/Panic of 1893) was just ending.



‘An American Century’


Henry Luce, publisher of Time, Life, and Fortune, had declared, in an editorial in Life magazine February 17, 1941, almost year before America entered World War II, that the Twentieth Century was the American Century, just as Spain, Holland, and Britain had their places in the Sun.  In the chart for this event, we see that the transiting Sun is conjunct the natal Moon of the US, the “American People”.  This is indicative of the American Century.

But the cause of the Open Door Notes and American’ decision to become an Empire was the Spanish American War.  (For further details of this important decision, see the recently published book One True Flag by Stephen Kinzer).  The start of the Spanish American War was the explosion of the USS Maine in the Havana Harbor.  This gave rise to the statement “Remember the Maine”.  Yellow journalism was popular at the time (unlike now!!) and one of the best of the publishers of newspapers at the time was William Randolph Hearst, who famously told his artist in Cuba, Frederic Remington (who is also famous for his Western paintings) who was worried that there was no real war in Cuba, that “You furnish the pictures, I’ll furnish the war”. And he did.

While it was thought at the time that the explosion on the Maine was a result of Spanish perfidy, it is now thought more likely that the explosion was the result of a boiler on the ship.  But nevertheless, that explosion caused Americans, such as Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders, to invaded Cuba and battle the Spanish.



”Remember the Maine’


This important explosion happened on February 15, 1898, and symbolically at least, it represents the start of the American Century that Henry Luce wrote about less than half a century later.  If we look at this chart, the most prominent feature is the Saturn-Pluto opposition.  This blog has often written about the powerful combination of Saturn Pluto hard aspects which were found at the start of World War I, World War II, the Cold War, and the death of democracy in Chile in 1973, among many other events.  But not only are these planets in opposition, but that opposition is powerfully configured with the chart of the United States: Pluto is on the Descendant of the United States, and Saturn is on the Ascendant of the country’s chart.  This seem appropriate, since the explosion (Pluto) occurred outside of the country, represented by the Descendant.

Within the year, the Open Door Notes was issued, and American had a colony in the Caribbean Sea, only 90 miles from Florida, and colonies in the Pacific.  Unfortunately for the United States, the colony of the Philippines was not working out well for them.  Who could have guessed that the people of the Philippines, having been liberated from their Spanish masters, were not too happy with the New Boss (same as the old boss) the United States.  There started a bloody colonial war between the Philippines and the United States which lasted about three years.  Waterboarding was practiced by Americans on captured Philippine soldiers.  In American an anti-war organization (American Anti-imperialist League founded June 15, 1898) was formed with several prominent citizen at the time, such a the author Mark Twain, industrialist Andrew Carnegie, and psychologist William James.



American Anti-Imperialist League


In the chart for the formation of the American Anti-Imperialist League, important things to notice are the Sun-Neptune conjunction (idealism) conjunct the natal Mars (war) of the United States.  Also of note is Jupiter (good intentions) at the Midheaven of the country.  This league, and its diverse members, was a physical statement that there were decent people in the country, even though the actions of the government denied that statement.

Another example of the American Empire happened shortly after the end of that war, when President Theodore Roosevelt sent ships near the isthmus of Panama, then part of Columbia, to prevent the Columbian soldiers from interfering with the revolution in the isthmus to separate it from the country of Columbia.  Once this revolt was successful and a new country was declared, thoughts of a canal between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans were seriously considered.

And of course American troops were sent in to many Central American counties, such as Haiti which was occupied by America for nineteen years and Nicaragua which was controlled by the Americans for more than the 21 years it occupied the county, and when they left the US allowed Anastasio Somoza to control that country.

This was all between the First and Second World Wars; after the second war the United States clearly emerged as the dominant power in the world, since all the other powers had been decimated by the fighting, while the United States, protected by the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, suffered no damage whatsoever — the only real exception was the bombing of that base on the Pacific colony of Hawaii (not a state until 1959).

American was the dominant power for decades after the end of World War II.  But then, at the dawn of the Twenty-First Century, the first attack on the homeland of the United States since the British burned Washington, DC during the War of 1812 occurred.  This was the attack on the World Trade Towers on September 11, 2001.  Here is a chart for that event on a Tuesday morning.





In this chart we see Saturn is again opposite Pluto, and again this opposition is on the Ascendant-Descendant axis of the United States chart, just as it was in the chart for the explosion of the Maine and the start of the Spanish American War.  But in this case Pluto is on the Ascendant and Saturn is on the Descendant.  This again makes sense, since the explosion (Pluto) occurred in that country (Ascendant) and not abroad.  This represents the closing of the cycle that started with the opposition of those two planets on the United states angles at the end of the Nineteenth Century,.

These two events, the Spanish-American War and the attack on 9/11 — represent the bookends of the American Empire and the markers of the American Century, the Twentieth Century.

The previous 500 years were a time of a unipolar world, when there would be only one power that was dominant.  The first of these powers was Spain that managed to get the first colonies in what was called the New World.  After that Holland was the dominant power; at one time that country had a colony in the New World called New Netherlands, dominated by the city called New Amsterdam which they had purchased from the native inhabitants of that land for some trinkets.  Britain was the next dominant power, and when they got that city from Holland they renamed in after the Duke of York and now it is called it New York City.  Finally America became the dominant power in the world.

But we are in a new 500 year cycle, and the Unipolar moment is over.  We are now in a multipolar world, where several countries are dominant at the same time.  Unfortunately the United States did not get the memo, and so it is behaving as if it is still the dominant power in the world.  This could result in very sticky situations as the United States behaves as if the world has not changed, and the rest of the world realizes that it has changed.

After the opposition of Saturn and Pluto at the beginning of the Twenty-First Century, which represents symbolically the culminating of a cycle which started in 1982, the beginning of the Reagan Revolution and what was called at the time the New Cold War, indicative of Reagan’s increasing hostility toward the Soviet Union, comes the following conjunction of those two planets, representing symbolically the end of the old cycle and the beginning of a new cycle.  In my next post, these Saturn-Pluto cycles of the Twentieth Century will be discussed, looking forward to the upcoming start of a new cycle.

Death of a King

The killing of a King has been considered such a grave crime throughout history that a special word was used for it: regicide.  It is not something that happened often, but there is a case of it English history that has been mentioned before in this blog, so I wanted to look at it since it sheds some astrological light on the times in which it happened, and also shows the difficulty in finding the exact date.  The king that was killed by his own people was Charles I of England on January 30, 1649.  But that date is not what it seems.  This was in the English Civil War.

Our modern calendar is called the Gregorian calendar, after Pope Gregory XII, and it was adopted in October 1582 for Europe.  But not everywhere.  Catholic countries adopted it right away; if the Pope said it was a good idea, that was good enough for them.  The result was a lacuna of 10 day after October 4, 1582.  The next day was October 15.  Astrological ephemerides for those times take account of this.  Dates in the Gregorian calendar are called New Style, as opposed to dates in the Julian calendar, devised by Julius Caesar, which is called Old Style.  By the time the Sixteenth Century rolled around, dates and the actions of the Sun were disconnected, and something had to be done.  The Gregorian calendar has the addition of leap year every four years (with a few exceptions) to allow for the difference between 365 days and one year.  But this new calendar did not necessarily take effect on that date in non-Catholic countries.  For example, the Eastern Orthodox Russia did not “go modern” until after the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917.  That is why the date for the Revolution is given both as November 7 (New Style) and October 25 (Old Style).  But Protestant countries did not adopt the Gregorian calendar right way either.  In particular, England did not adopt the Gregorian calendar until 1752.  That is why George Washington’s birthday is listed as two different dates — he was born before 1752 and the colonies followed the time of Britain.  It turns out that the date when Charles I was beheaded is in the Old Style, so we must use the New Style date of February 9.

The English Civil War, for which the execution of the King was a climax, started out as a conflict between the King and the Parliament, which was seldom called into session even though that was one of the things required of the English Crown after the Magna Carta  was signed some 400 years earlier.  This battle can be considered between the Cavaliers, descendants of the Normans who invaded the country in 1066 and the Roundheads, descendants of the native British who lived there before the invasion.  But many other things happened during the English Civil War that were not necessary involved directly with Charles.  It has been called The World Turned Upside Down, by English author Christopher Hill in a book of the same name.  Many sects developed, such as the Quakers, the Diggers, and the Ranters.  It was a time of questioning almost everything about English Society.




The first thing to notice about this chart is the opposition between Uranus and Pluto.  Looking at the graphical ephemeris for this period, we see that this opposition lasted at least four years.  We are all familiar with Uranus-Pluto hard aspects; they often lead to revolution, either figurative — the Sixties — or literally — the French Revolution, also an opposition, or the English Civil War.  There was also a Uranus-Neptune conjunction, as in the Nineties.  This period saw the foundation of the Scientific Revolution, and the actual founding the British Royal Society in November of 1660.  John Locke was born in 1632 and Issac newton in 1643, so they were both growing up during the English Civil War and this Uranus-Neptune conjunction, which as we can see from the graphical ephemeris lasted longer than the Uranus-Pluto opposition and overlapped it.  During this period all three of the outer planets were connected by either opposition or conjunction.  This is a powerful combination.




But in regards to the death of Charles I, notice the Saturn-Pluto conjunction.  The hard aspects of these two planets are notorious, and a most obvious example is the opposition of those two on 9/11/2001.

But another Uranus-Pluto opposition occurred in the death of another king:  This is the  famous killing of a king that happened during the French Revolution.  And fortunately for us, someone was there to record the exact time that Louis XVI had his head cut off, but with a different instrument than that used to sever the head of Charles I.  The French invented a “more humane” way of executing a person than that of chopping of the head off with an ax.  It was well know that one was supposed to tip the executioner so that he would remove your head with a single blow.  But with the newly developed guillotine there was no need to worry: gravity would ensure that the blow of the blade was clean and did its job.




For the very public execution of Louis XVI the Uranus Pluto opposition is exact, with an orb of two minutes.  Mercury is on the Midheaven, and indeed this was carried out with much notice and talk by the populace of Paris; there was even someone who recorded the exact time, which is beneficial to astrologers.  There is also an opposition between Moon and Jupiter, and since we have an exact time this is indeed a valid aspect.  These two planets are also in fixed signs as are Uranus and Pluto, but the orbs are not close enough for a grand cross.  Uranus is sesquiquadrate Mercury, and square Neptune, Mars semisquare Ascendant, Mars conjunct Pluto (more violence); there are many aspects in this chart.




Uranus and Pluto can also cause revolution without the death of the leader, as was seen during the Uranus-Pluto opposition in the first decade of the Twentieth Century.  Here is a chart for the start of the first Russian Revolution of 1905, and the event known as Bloody Sunday, when many protestors were killed.  The Uranus Pluto opposition is very wide at 12 degrees, but it was closing, and the events certainly bear the hallmark of Uranus and Pluto.  The protestors wanted reforms and a parliament, and presented a petition to Nicholas II.

The time for the chart is set when first shooting started.  Many unarmed protests gathered in front of the Winter Palace, and they were shot by Imperial soldiers representing the Tsar.  Note that the date is January 22, but since Russia was still on the Julian calendar at the time of this event, the date was January 9 in the calendar being used.

Note that Mars is on the Descendant, showing the gunfire coming from the troops; about 200 people were killed.  Mercury was on the Midheaven, and this event was very public;  people around the nation heard about it, only increasing their anger.

This bloody Sunday is considered the start of the First Russian Revolution, which was not successful.  But it showed the anger of the populace towards the Tsar.  After Russia fought, and lost many troops, in the First World War, that anger increased and the result was the Second Russian Revolution, which was successful and, among other things, resulted in the execution of Nicholas II and his family.