Early Twentieth Century Disasters

In the early part of the XXth century, inspection and control were lax, safety measures somewhat non-existent, and large disasters occurred more often than 100 years later. Here are four.

The General Slocum was a cruise ship in Brooklyn, New York, built near the end of the Nineteenth Century.  On June 15, 1904 it was chartered by a church group for an enjoyable cruise to Long Island and a picnic.  The ship was carrying an estimated 1331 passengers, mostly German immigrants or second generation German-Americans from a Lutheran Church in lower Manhattan.  The disaster that befell it is less well known than the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, discussed below, which also took place in New York City.  Shortly after leaving the dock a fire started on the ship.  It is still unclear exactly how the fire started.  Witnesses claimed the fire started in either a cabin filled with paint or one filled with gasoline.  The passengers could either die by fire or die by drowning, since most probably could not swim, and the clothing of the early Twentieth century made swimming difficult.  There were mostly women and children on the ship, and the large skirts on the women made swimming difficult.  Ship safety quality had not been maintained: the fire hoses were rotten, the life preservers fell apart and the crumbling cork acted as a dead weight for the wearers, and the life boats were not accessible, in some cases wired down or painted to walls.  To coin a phrase, it was a disaster waiting to happen.  The captain of the ship also made bad decisions that delayed rescue.  Help was slow in arriving.  The ship left dock at 9:30 for a church picnic, and the fire was noticed at 10, which is when the chart is drawn.  As a result, over 1000 people died.  Since most of the people lost were from Little Germany in Manhattan, that neighborhood declined after the disaster.  The captain was sentenced to 10 years in Sing Sing.  He was released after 3 and a half years.  Steamship inspection was reformed.



Slocum Fire


The first thing we notice in the chart of this event is the conjunction of Sun, Mars, Pluto, and Venus, with Mars and Pluto (major violence) within one-half degree.  And that conjunction is trine Saturn: Extreme violence on that day (Sun) affecting mostly women (Venus).  The trine indicates that the death in this case had long lasting (Saturn) effects. The Sun opposite Uranus suggests the suddenness of this disaster (and don’t forget that the word “disaster” means “bad stars”, that is a evil combination of planets, and is essentially an astrological word).  The sextile between Jupiter and the Sun, and from the sixth harmonic chart we can see how close that sextile (conjunction is the sixth harmonic) actually is, shows that this disaster was indeed big, that is, Jupiterian.



Slocum Sixth Harmonic


The sinking of the Titanic is a famous disaster, and movies have been made of the incident.  The Titanic was supposedly unsinkable, and it left London on its maiden voyage for New York City, filled with both poor people and the rich.  It struck an ice berg in the North Atlantic at 11:38 pm ship time on April 14, 1912.  It took two hours and 40 minutes to sink and more than 1500 people died, making it one of the largest maritime disasters in history.  The Titanic lived up to its name: it was four city blocks long and 11 stories high; it included a gym, a swimming pool, and a squash court.  Since it was considered unsinkable, only half the number of needed lifeboats were provided.  Another problem was a lack of binoculars which prevented crew members stationed in the crow’s nest from seeing the iceberg they were approaching.  The ship was equipped with state of the art communications, but somehow the warnings about ice that were received never were passed on to the bridge.  Many of the lifeboats were lowered half full since ship’s crew was not certain they had been tested for seaworthiness.  Even though there was a close ship when the accident happened, that ship (later identified as the British ship Californian) never responded to the Titanic’s plight.  Most people could have been saved if a rescue ship was available when sinking began.



Titanic Hits Iceberg


In the chart for the time the Titanic hit the iceberg, and thus the “birth” of the accident, we see the approaching New Moon at the bottom of the chart, so there was no available lunar light at the time of the collision.  There is a semisquare between Mars and Saturn, which suggests the difficulties in rescuing people, both through the half-filled lifeboats and the difficulty of getting a rescue ship.  Pluto hit the Descendant about 20 minutes later, as the ship was sinking.  There is a wide Pluto Mars conjunction here just as seen previously.  There is a one degree Moon square Pluto (periled humanity) that became exact in another two hours, about when the ship finally sunk.  At the same time Neptune came to the Descendant, indicated the ship’s watery grave.

The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire is well known, but relatively few people died as a result of that fire that took place in a commercial building in Manhattan.  Only 146 people died, mostly from fire in a building from which they could not escape, but some from jumping as they tried to escape the fire.  On Saturday March 25, 1911 at 4:40 in the afternoon a fire broke out on eighth floor.  Immediately a bookkeeper called the company offices on the tenth floor and appraised them of the fire.  Those on the tenth floor exited immediately.  Those on the eighth floor also ran for their lives and escaped.  But no one told the workers on the ninth floor.  Fire escapes collapsed and some got out by climbing down the elevator cables, and others used the two small freight elevators.   Some thought the fire began in a box of fabric scraps that a cigarette was thrown into.  The doors were locked to prevent the workers from leaving, as required by the owners to prevent stealing, and only one of the four large elevators was in working condition.  This incident is famous for highlighting the poor working conditions available for young women in the early Twentieth Century, and caused many demands for reform of labor laws.  Currently, as most clothing manufacturing has moved overseas, such disasters happen in foreign counties, such as the famous one that was reminiscent of The Triangle Shirtwaist fire that occurred in Bangladesh a few years ago.  The owners of Triangle Shirtwaist refused to allow unionization (workers wanted to join the International Ladies Garment Workers’ Union — ILGWU — but were prevented by the owners).  After this fire, the ILGWU was much more popular with the public.  The owners of the business paid a week’s wages to the families of those who had died, and received $200,000 from insurance.



Triangle Shirtwaist Fire


In this chart we have Moon conjunction Mars (fiery deaths of women) square Saturn conjunct Venus (loss of females).  Pluto is in the tenth house, loosely conjunct the Midheaven and reaches the MC 50 minutes later.

The SS Eastland was also a passenger ship used for cruises, and based in Chicago.  The workers from a General Electric affiliated plant started boarding early for a picnic, a break from their mundane lives.  After the Eastland had been build, it was found to be top-heavy and prone to listing on one side.  On the morning July 24, 1915 the ship soon filled to capacity, which was over 2500 people.  While it sat at dock, the Eastland began to list to one side, causing passenger to gather on the other side.  It kept listing, and finally tilted over 90 degrees to the port side so that the deck was half submerged and the ship rested on the bottom, which was only 20 feet below the surface of the water.  Many were trapped under water, and some were crushed by heavy furniture that moved when the ship tilted.  Even though they were only 20 feet from the dock, 848 lost their lives.  After the sinking of the Titanic, changes had been made to lifeboats carried, and some think that the Eastland was top heavy and thus had a tendency to capsize because of all the lifeboats it carried on the top deck, called the Hurricane Deck.  People dived into the water attempting to rescue passengers, and welders arrived and attempted to open the hull to remove trapped passengers; neither operation was very successful.



Eastland Lists


In the Eastland chart, the Moon opposite Pluto jumps out at us; Moon and Pluto have already been mentioned several times in this entry; major events affecting women, and these two planets are trine and sextile the event Ascendant, showing that it happened in this location.  Sun is tightly conjoined with Neptune; this could indicate the watery doom that befell many on that day, or the confused responses to an accident that happened while the ship was at dock.  Mars Uranus combination are famous in accidents (consider the meanings of those two planets) and here we have a trine between Mars and Uranus. And, as in the first cruise ship accident discussed, here there is a Sun-Jupiter aspect — Sun trine Jupiter with orb about two degrees: Another large death toll.


An American Way of Death

The massive killing of concert goers in Las Vegas is in the news, and since an exact time the shooting started is available, I had expected to write about the chart for this incident. But just to expand the scope of this entry, I decided to cover the charts for two other recent mass shootings.  There are so many it was an embarrassment of riches, so to speak, but I finally decided on two more very famous incidents: the shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado and the Sandy Hook shootings in Connecticut.  Then we are looking at an incident from the East Coast, one from the center of the country, and one from the West.  But mass killing didn’t just happen recently.  There were many massacres of Native Americans throughout American history, but they are not well timed.  But one early incident occurred in the Twenties involving school children that we have a date and time for and I will look at this also.



Las Vegas Massacre


Looking at the chart for the first shot at the crowd, we see the long lasting transits Uranus semisquare Neptune, which goes in and out of orb over the next three years, and only sets the background to the craziness of the world during these years, and Uranus opposite Jupiter, not nearly as long lasting as the previous aspect — Jupiter moves through one sign per year — and indicates an excess of unpredictability.  But the most obvious aspect is Saturn just above the Descendant, about half a degree.  The exact opposition to the Ascendant would happen about four minutes later, in the midst of the shooting.  Saturn has a bad reputation, called the “greater malefic”.  Saturn opposite the Ascendant says that something bad is coming into your environment from the outside, which is exactly what happened.  Notice also the Venus-Mars conjunction trine Pluto.  The Mars trine Pluto is quite close, orb about nine minutes.  Mars-Pluto suggest great violence, but this aspect is a trine, not a square.  Most people think a trine is soft and easy, unlike a square.  But this is not quite true.  A trine indicates action that goes on easily, without causing an upset which is noticeable.  In the case it is now known that the shooter amassed a huge supply of weapons and carefully planned his action.  The whole operation appeared to come about without difficulty, indicative of a trine.  Of course this aspect was long lasting, whereas the Saturn on the Ascendant was very brief, since the Ascendant changes at the rate of approximately one degree every four minutes, so this aspect was only valid for several minutes, exactly the time of the shooting.




Las Vegas Shooting – USA


And here is a chart for the transits at that time in the US chart.  We notice that both Neptune is square the US Ascendant and Uranus is sesquiquadrate that Ascendant.  This occurs because of the Uranus semisquare Neptune aspect mentioned above, but in this case we see that that aspects is so situated that both planets aspect the US Ascendant, meaning that the craziness mentioned about directly impacts the US.  Transiting Saturn is opposite the US Mars — frustrated energy.



Columbine Shooting


The next chart is for the shooting at Columbine High in Colorado in 1999.  Among other things, this shooting highlights the hypocrisy of American leaders in regards to mass shootings and gun control.  Bill Clinton, President of America at the time of the shooting, spoke out against the stupidity of this shooting at the same time that he was bombing Serbia and killing many civilians.  I suppose very few of his listeners at the time noted the extreme conflict between what he said and what he did.  The old saying “Do as I say, not as I do” was never more useful.  In this incident, two high school students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 13 students and teachers and wounded 24.

In this chart we find Mercury exactly — less than a quarter degree — on the Midheaven. This event was communicated – Mercury — fairly immediately to the populace at large. Everyone knew about it.  To further accentuated the people’s knowledge of this event, we have the Moon (people) square mercury and the Midheaven.  What is most noticeable is the T-square involving Saturn opposite Mars square Neptune.  It is hard to imagine three planets with a more negative reputation.  Mars square Neptune, also seen in the US chart, show misapplied or confused energies.  Saturn and Mars shows frustrated energies that do not come out the way expected (the two lads involved had expected an explosion from bombs they had planted, but that explosion never happened) or are frustrated.  Saturn and Neptune have been discussed before, simply indicated the disillusion with what had once been thought to be a good idea.  Notice that the orbs in all three of these aspects are tight; the Mars Saturn opposition is within 20 minutes, and Mars is retrograde, adding to the underhanded nature of actions at this time.



Sandy Hook Shooting


The third chart here is for the shooting at Sandy Hook School in Connecticut.  In this incident 20 year old Adam Lanza shot 20 students all of whom were under eight years old, and six adult at the elementary school.  He had earlier killed his mother and at the end of the killing at the school he committed suicide.  The chart is not very impressive; the tightest aspect is in the Sun-Saturn semisquare, which is about seven seconds of arc.  But let us look a little deeper, at the fourth harmonic chart.  The fourth harmonic chart, like any other harmonic chart, shows nothing that is not already in the primary chart, just like a microscope shows nothing that is not already in the thing being observed.  But the fourth harmonic chart shows things that aren’t easily noticeable in the primary chart, things that can be very important.  And in this chart we see that there is a T-Square involving some very interesting planets.  Now realize this is not a T-square, involving an opposition and two squares, in the conventional sense.  The “opposition” in this case is the exact semisquare between Sun and Saturn pointed out above.  In the fourth harmonic chart a semisquare or a sesquiquadrate appear as oppositions, since they are based on one-eight of a circle and eight times one half (opposition) is four.  The squares in the fourth harmonic chart are actually semi-octiles, multiples of 22.5 degrees, but important hard aspects.  Here we have Sun, Saturn, Neptune, showing a difficult day, one where things do not turn out as expected.



Sandy Hook Fourth Harmonic


And just to show that large scale mass murders are not just due to guns, here is a crime that occurred in the (Roaring) Twenties involving dynamite.  This took place in the Bath Township of Michigan.  This incident still remains, even after Sandy Hook, the deadliest school massacre in American History.  At the time dynamite was a relatively new explosive, having been invented by Alfred Nobel 60 years earlier.  Bath was a small village near the capital of Michigan, Lansing.  An initial explosion at 8:45 in the morning was from a cache of dynamite that had previously be laid.  Not all of the dynamite planted exploded.  A member of the school board named Andrew Kehoe drove up to the school with a dynamite filled pickup truck which he blew up by shooting the truck, killing himself and several bystanders.  Forty-five people died as a result of his actions, including 38 students.



Bath Township Massacre


So here is a chart for the main explosion at the school, from dynamite which was on a timer.  There was also an explosion at the same time at Kehoe’s house, which killed his ill wife, and explosion later at the school when Kehoe shot his truck, killing himself, the school superintendent, and some others.  There is a square between Sun-Mercury and Neptune — confused communication and a day (Sun) of deception.  But notice Mars conjunct Pluto with Mars less than a degree off the Ascendant– violence, bloodshed in the environment.  Jupiter is right on the Midheaven, and  Jupiter is considered the “greater benefic”.  Perhaps the deaths would be much greater if all the dynamite planted at the school went off, so there was some luck involved.  Also, many students were on a break and so avoided the blast.  But Jupiter also suggests the magnitude of this killing, which as I said before is still the deadliest in US history, and it was at a small school.  And Jupiter is conjunct Uranus (see Richard Tarnas for other meanings of the conjunction involving discovery) which reflects the opposition of the same two planets in the Las Vegas shooting chart.


Early British History

The Battle of Hastings in 1066 was an important turning point in British history, and thus also in American history.  It was discussed in this blog a long time ago pointing out that the split between the”Red States” and “Blue States” extends back to the Norman Invasion and the Battle of Hastings.

With the Norman Invasion, French royalty who believed that they were the proper inheritors of the British crown invaded England and the Norman prince William battled with the current ruler of England, Harold Godwinsson.  So we had a Anglo-Saxon army of traditional English peoples battling the invading army of the French-Normans.  These two groups had two different mindsets that influenced English, and thus American, thought down through the ages, now almost 1000 years.

The Normans were philosophically descended from the Romans and their idea of a Republic, that is to say representative democracy, and also of course the Catholic Church. The defenders, though Christian (and thus Catholic) at the time, were descended from the paganism of the early English and Scandinavians, who had invaded England over the last few centuries.  These people were believers of Democracy, which is to say direct democracy.  See the article at the link for more details.  The democracy of the Anglo-Saxons is today more visible in the town democracy of New England, which was originally settled by the descendants of the traditional English (for more details see Albion’s Seed by David Hackett Fischer) whereas the national government of America runs on a republican form of government which was represented by the French Normans. Most of the early government was designed by politicians from Virginia, who were descended from the Royalists who settled in the states and were from the Cavilers in England, descendants of the French Normans.



Battle of Hastings


Though the battle of Hastings lasted all day, we do have a time for when it started: 9 am.  Here is that chart.  The most prominent feature is Saturn at the Midheaven — a little over one degree away.  While Saturn is often associated with bad outcomes, and this was certainly true for the defenders under Harold, Saturn more particularly refers to the long lasting implications of this battle — it influenced British history for the next millennium.  Neptune, which of course was unknown at the time, is placed on the Descendant: Things coming from outside the immediate environment — that is from France on the other side of the English Channel — were not seen clearly.  Mars is square Saturn and the Midheaven, certainly appropriate to a battle whose result would influence England and the world for a long time to come.  Also note the formation involving Moon, Midheaven, Saturn, Sun, Venus, Mercury, and Mars, five of the seven planets known at the time.  If we look at the fourth harmonic chart of this event, it is more clear.  Saturn, Mars, Midheaven are opposite Sun, Moon (it was a last quarter Moon) with Venus loosely conjoined.  This was a major event involving battle and, with the connection to the two lights — the Sun and Moon — this event was quite important.



Battle of Hastings Harmonic 4


William founded a dynasty of kings.  His granddaughter, Matilda, married Geoffrey, Count of Anjou, who liked to wear as his personal symbol a bit of flowering broom, whose Latin name was Planta genista.  Their son became king Henry II, the first of a long line of Plantagenet kings.  That dynasty lasted until it ended at a battle at Bosworth Field, and the victor became Henry VII, the first Tudor king, in 1485, who defeated the notorious Richard III.  In the years before that the English rulers were engaged in a civil war between two families of the Plantagenets in what was called the War of the Roses, a popular theme in the plays of Shakespeare.

Another important event of early British history is called “Murder in the Cathedral” — the killing of Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, by forces loyal to King Henry II. There was a movie made about this event called (big surprise) Becket, staring Richard Burton in the title role, released in 1964, and a poem/drama by T. S. Ellot called “Murder in the Cathedral” written in 1935.  We have an approximate time for this murder: Thomas had just gone to vespers, which is approximately at 6:30 in the evening, when he was killed.  Four knights thought the King wanted Thomas killed, though perhaps they misunderstood what the King said.  As a result all four were excommunicated.



Killing Thomas Becket

Several things stand out: Mars conjunct Jupiter — plenty of violence.  Moon opposite Uranus: Unexpected events at this time.  The Moon moves one degree in two hours so the exact opposition would take place two hours later.  Of course the time of this event is only approximate, since all we know is that the Archbishop was at vespers when the murder occurred.  Mercury conjunct Neptune: confused thoughts.  And Venus on the Descendant: Venus (justice) was setting and it would be below the horizon in about 10 minutes.

Henry had two sons who became kings.  One, Richard I who was known as Lionheart, spent most of his time away from home fighting in Crusades to drive the Muslims from the Holy Land.  His brother was John, the king after Richard died.  John upset his aristocratic barons and they forced him to sign the Magna Carta (Great Charter) giving them more rights.  This was famously signed in the fields of Runnymede – a meadow near the Thames — near Leicestershire, on June 15, 1215.  I haven’t been able to find an exact time, but noon is a reasonable guess.  The Magna Carta is considered the first written constitution, and has served as the inspiration to many in the time since it was written, even though like most good ideas there were many, many times when its promises were not observed.  Still, it is an important landmark.


Magna Carta



In this chart we see Sun conjunct Venus — justice on this day — conjunct the Midheaven, not surprising since it is a noon chart.  This conjunction is square Uranus, the planet of change and of revolution, and this document was that.  There is a quincunx, 150 degrees  which indicates a difference between the Sun — King John — and the people, in this case the barons, which needs adjustment.  This quincunx is close, 2 minutes from exact.  Note that the Sun is at 0 Cancer, the first day of Summer.  Since this was the Julian calendar and not the Gregorian calendar that is used today, thee was a bit of slippage between the seasons and the calendar.



Battle of Bosworth Field


Finally, here is a chart for the battle that ended the Plantagenet reign, and ushered in the Tudor dynasty.  The bones of Richard III were recently found in a car park (ie, parking lot) in England to much notice.  The Battle of Bosworth Field is historically very important in England.  This is the most unimpressive chart I have seen of an event, especially one of so much import. The only thing of note is a recent Jupiter-Saturn conjunction, which indicates the beginning of a twenty-year period of a new ruler.  This is all true but not very impressive.

But at a large scale, this year – 1485 — is important.  In November of that year, the planets were bunched as closely as they had been in 500 years (as discussed previously).  This indicated the end of the previous 500 year cycle, and the beginning of the next one, the one I call the 500 Year Party, which ended in 1982.  And indeed, the reign of Henry VII is considered the beginning of the English Renaissance.

Before The Civil War

Currently we have Neptune in an opening square to the Ascendant of the United States and a trine between Neptune and the US Sun.  Because of the slow passage of Neptune, this pattern was repeated last before Neptune was discovered, in 1853 and 1854.  Thus I thought it would be interesting to look at that period in American history.




In the period 2016 through 2018 we have transiting Neptune making an opening square the the US Ascendant, as has been discussed before, and also a trine to the US Sun.  These two important Neptune transits go on for several years.  The first chart shows a position within this period in which you can see both the square to the Ascendant — red line — and the trine to the Sun — blue line.  Since the square is a fourth harmonic aspect and the trine is a third harmonic aspect, the harmonic which shows both aspects as a conjunction is the twelfth harmonic: 12 = 3X4.  So here is a twelfth harmonic graphical ephemeris allowing one to see when both aspects are coming into orb, exact, and leaving orb.  Neptune first approaches square to the Ascendant in late spring of 2016 — black arrow — and then the trine with the Sun finally ceases in early 2019 — red arrow.  So for about three and a half years the United States is strongly Neptunian.




But this combination of aspects has happened once before in the history of the United States, that is, after its birth, and that was in the period 1853 and 1854.  The third chart is a wheel showing when both aspects were within orb, and the fourth chart is a graphical ephemeris, like the previous one, showing when Neptune approaches the opening square with the Ascendant — black arrow — until when the final trine with the Sun took place at the end of 1854 — red arrow.  This period was shorter than the current one, but many important things did happen




In 1850, under a Uranus-Pluto conjunction, the South thought about leaving the Union, but in a vote of Southern states, only one state, South Carolina, voted for succession, so the matter was dropped for the time being.  But 1850 did see the Fugitive Slave Act (part of the Compromise of 1850) passed, which required northerners to return slaves that had escaped to their rightful “owners”.  This act was not very popular in many Northern cities, and there was widespread refusal to obey its demands.



Before the Civil War


Then in 1854 the Kansas-Nebraska Act was passed, shepherded by Stephen Douglas who would become famous for his debates with Whig politician Abraham Lincoln, whom he ran against in the election of 1860.  To understand the full import of this act, we will have to explore the history of Congress’s dealings with slavery, which was always a controversial subject in America,

In 1820 Congress passed the Missouri Compromise,  which was suppose to settle the issue of slavery in the country.  Missouri was going to enter the nation as a slave state, thus upsetting the balance of slave and free states in the country.  To avoid this, Maine was broken off from Massachusetts and thus became a free state at the same time that Missouri became a slave state, maintaining the balance.  Furthermore, when other states were made from the vast territory that was the Louisiana Purchase, all states north of the southern border of Missouri (expect obviously Missouri) were to be free states and those south of that border would be slave states.


Missouri Compromise


The chart, above,  for the day the Missouri Compromise was passed, is very interesting. There is a conjunction between Uranus and Neptune, the last one before 1990, opposite the US Venus and square Pluto, which sits on the IC of the United States.  That Pluto position — the conjunction with the IC was yet to happen — indicates  that deep changes to the society of the US were coming in the near future.  This period saw a Venus return for the United States (transiting Venus returns to its natal position), and with that strong opposition, Justice seemed to be in the ascendancy.  This was an illusion but it would takes several decades for this to become clear.

This compromise had lasted for a third of a century, but now that Kansas and Nebraska were about to enter the country, and both of the states were clearly north of the southern border of Missouri and so they should be free states, Douglas, among others, wanted popular sovereignty to be in effect.  This allowed each state to determine its own policies of slavery.  This popular sovereignty passed in the Kansas-Nebraska Act, thus killing the Missouri Compromise and, though it was not initially clear, setting the final stage for the Civil War, which was to come in another seven years.

There were many unintended consequences of this Act.  Because of the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, more and more people became disgusted and disillusioned with slavery and expressed their increasing unhappiness.  Many slave owners from Missouri rushed into Kansas hoping to swell the vote in favor of slavery in that state.  These people were called border ruffians or pukes, and were seen as interlopers by the people who already lived in the Kansas territory.  There were many skirmishes been the pro and anti slavery citizens of Kansas, leading to what has been called “Bleeding Kansas”.  An important preacher from Brooklyn, Henry Ward Beecher (brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe, whose novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin had been published in 1852) sent boxes of what were called Beecher’s Bibles and were actually rifles to Kansas that helped with the bleeding.  A man by the name of John Brown killed five pro-slavery people in Kansas in 1856, before his more famous attack on Harper’s Ferry.  The Whig Party, that had formed as a response to Andrew Jackson, essentially disappeared with the passage of the Kansas Nebraska Act, and anti-slavery Whigs joined with members of the Free Soil Party to form the Republican Party in 1954, thus ending what is called the Second Party System and replacing it with the Third Party System — Republicans and Democrats — which the country still has.  So we can see that the passage of this piece of legislation, considered so fine at the time, on hindsight can be seen as one of the final acts that lead directly to the Civil War.  The Missouri Compromise had settled the waters of the slavery antislavery controversy for awhile, but as an elderly Thomas Jefferson said at the time, this was as a fire bell in the night.  It just took forty years for the fire to be acknowledged.

In summary, this period with the multiple Neptune transits for the United States saw the final disillusionment with the status quo opinion that it was possible to compromise with the slave-owning republic that was south of the Mason-Dixon line, but expanding.  This compromise had been in effect for a third of a century, but it was finally rapidly collapsing.  The end, as Neptune transited opposite the MC of the US and Uranus transited opposite the Ascendant of the US, would not be long in coming.


The battle of Antietam, also called the Battle of Sharpsburg since it was fought near Sharpsburg, Maryland, was an important battle in what is commonly called the Civil War of the United States.  The Civil War is a term mostly used by descendants of the Union side; the preferred term for the descendants of the Confederacy is “War Between the States”.  In actually, this wasn’t a real civil war, since in the case of a civil war two powers are trying to take over the government; but in this case one power wanted to leave the government.  We see many of these in current times, resulting in Eritrea and Ethiopia, South Sudan and Sudan, and potentially Scotland and Great Britain and Basque and Spain.

The Battle of Antietam is considered the bloodiest day in American History, though a natural disaster in Galveston did claim more lives thought over more days.  It was fought in the state of Maryland on September 17, 1862.  The battle was started before dawn on that day, which gives us a time upon which to draw a chart.  Twenty thousand men were killed, wounded, or missing as a result of that battle.  Even though the battle is seen now as a draw, neither the Union or Confederate sides getting a victory, it was enough to cause the President Abraham Lincoln to feel confident enough to issue a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, that at last reveled the true nature of the Civil War.  This document allowed Great Britain, who had been thinking of recognizing the Confederate side, even though the UK had emancipated its slaves in 1833, to finally decide that the Union side was the one to back in the country that had been its colony less than 100 years previously.

Sharpsburg is on the Antietam creek, a tributary of the Potomac; it is about a mile north of the Potomac and about fifty miles west of Washington, DC so it was very close to the seat of the Union government and home to President Abraham Lincoln.  Antietam was the first large scale battle to take place in the East where the Confederate soldiers had invaded the Union territory.  This was one of the reason it is considered a important battle, and why it was considered Union victory, even though it wasn’t.  The leaders of the two side were George McClellan of the Union side and Robert E. Lee from the Confederacy.  Even though Lee’s forces were outnumbered, McClellan thought that his forces were outnumbered.  Because of McClellan’s lack of aggressiveness in this and other battles, he was soon relieved of his duties by Lincoln.  The battle is famous for another, more gruesome reason.  Photography had been invented during the Uranus-Neptune conjunction forty years before, and Mathew Brady is famous for photographing scenes from the Civil War.  The photographer Alexander Gardner was working for Brady and in this battle he captured the first photos of dead people where they fell in battle. These were shot in 3-D, Gardner’s standard at the time, and they were shown in Brady’s gallery in New York City and were available by mail order from a catalog.  One can try to imagine the sight of dead American bodies seen by citizens in their parlors — it was quite a shock and truly brought home the carnage of the War to people.


The Battle Starts


This first chart is an event chart for the beginning of the battle.  According to accounts, the troops started before dawn.  I’ve set this chart for a few minutes before the Sun hit the Eastern horizon: 5:40AM.  I did not see before I did the chart that Uranus was exactly on the Midheaven at that time, which is certainly appropriate for a battle where there is much excitement and changeability.  Mars, of course, is in the Seventh house where the enemy would be met.  Neptune is also there — the fog of war and McClellan’s mistake about Confederate troop strength.  The Sun is square Uranus, which would occur all day.  There is a very tight (under one half degree) sesquiquadrate between Saturn and Pluto.  We have discussed before the tragic consequences that befall the nation and the world under a hard aspects between Saturn and Pluto, and here we see it again.  The Sun is conjunct Saturn — much hard work on that day, but Jupiter is in the first house, and indeed the outcome — the Emancipation Proclamation — was positive.  There are two clear oppositions from the first to the seventh houses — Mars opposite Mercury — angry words — and Jupiter opposed to Neptune — apparent happiness.


Later That Morning


Here is a chart drawn for 7 that morning.  You can see that the Sun has already risen, but it is still square Uranus.  This chart shows that the last quarter Moon is at the Midheaven in the early morning, where it would be visible.





And here is a chart for this event within the USA natal chart, where we can see the effects of the battle on the country.  That sun conjunct Saturn is near the top of the chart – the exact conjunction of the Sun with the US Midheaven is about a week later — this is high noon for America for the year.  Neptune is opposite the MC, indicating the the Civil War is a generational crisis of the country.  Probably the most obvious aspect is transiting Uranus conjunct the Mars of the United States, Uranus inflaming the martial spirit of the country, and it has been pointed out this was an important battle where the Confederate troops first invade the North and got near to the capital.


Emancipation Proclamation


And finally here is a chart for when Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.  You can see the Sun has now moved to be conjoined with the MC — this is the crowning point of the year for the US.  And we can see that Venus is conjunct the Moon at 12 noon, which is a good guess for when the bill was signed.  In this case Venus represents Justice, which by signing this bill Lincoln was assuring for the slaves that were affected — those living in states which were in conflict with the Union.  The Moon is almost New — which would happen in a little over a day — signifying  as New Moons do the start of a new cycle.

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.


War of the Worlds

The British writer H. G. Wells — a Virgo — is best known for his science fiction stories, and in fact Wells and his contemporary the French writer Jules Verne basically set the prototype for most science fiction written in the succeeding centuries.  The story of time travel was essentially created by his story The Time Machine.  This theme has been popular down through the ages and there is even a contemporary television drama based on this very theme.  The Mad Scientist trope was originated by his novel The Island of Doctor Moreau.  And then there was his story The First Men in the Moon which is about just what the title suggests.  But the theme of alien invasion which has been richly explored was originated by his novel The War of the Worlds (serialized in 1897, published as a book in 1898), which tells of an invasion of the Earth by Martians.  This story was written in the last decade of the Nineteenth Century, under the Neptune-Pluto conjunction, when Modernism was just beginning to shape Western civilization.  He predicted World War II in his work The Shape of Things To Come, written in 1933 (arguable not an extreme prediction at that time) which later became a film which he wrote.  Wells was a forerunner in his science fiction.

His classic novel The War of the Worlds, also serialized in an American magazine in the late Nineteenth Century, tells of an invasion by a Martian space craft into the Southern English countryside and the subsequent destruction of parts of London that were familiar to his readers.  When this theme was brought to America, as the films and the radio play discussed below did, the setting was changed to America, which was much more meaningful to the American viewers and listeners.  It was made into a film several times, the latest in 2005, directed by Steven Speilberg.

This novel was set into radio play by the famed actor Orson Welles (note the last names are similar but not the same) and his group the Mercury Theatre near the end of the Great Depression and before the official start of World War Two, less than a year later with the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939.  The play was performed by Welles and adapted from the novel by a playwright who was later blacklisted in Hollywood.  The play was considerably different from the novel.   In Welles’ play, an orchestra was playing music of the kind people danced to in 1938, but this seemingly innocuous radio performance was interrupted by breathless announcements of an landing of an invasion party at a farm in New Jersey, close to New York City where the broadcast originated. Americans were in a fairly fragile state at the time, which may explain the famous reaction to the radio broadcast.  About 50% of the people who heard the radio broadcast on the eve of Halloween though that it was a true report of an invasion of this planet, in New Jersey, and of those 40% panicked.  There were, however, no deaths on this occasion; the same can not be said when the same performance was tried in Peru in 1949.  Welles’ Mercury Theatre would often base their plays on works of literature, and in fact just a week before this broadcast they did a radio performance based on Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days, so people familiar with this CBS show should not have believed in was true.  It seems “fake news” is not just a contemporary phenomenon.  At this time radio was a relatively new medium, and Welles used it masterfully.  He was up against a show — ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy — that was ten times as popular as his show.  Much of Welles version of War of the Worlds was with an orchestra, with interruptions of announcements of the invasion timed to match the commercial breaks of the competing show.  Those who just tuned to his show from Bergen’s continued to listen after being entranced by the invasion.  As the invasion got worse, a “Secretary of the Interior” who sounded an awfully much like current President Franklin Roosevelt, urged listeners to stay calm.  By the end of the show, as in the novel, the aliens are killed by the bacteria of Earth to which they have no immunity.  However, many did not listen to the end of the show, but made panicked calls to their relatives or their local police departments.

By the next days, those who had realized that it was simply a radio drama congratulated themselves at their wisdom and thought Welles was a genius, while those who had believe the story were outraged and there were many lawsuits, all of which were eventually dismissed.

After people settled down, the results were beneficial for both Wells and Welles. More people started to read the original novel and H. G. Wells changed his opinion of the radio adaptation.  Orson Welles received a large contract from a movie studios and went on to direct and star in Citizen Kane, which even today is considered one of the best movies ever made.



War of the Worlds Broadcast


We have two charts to look at.  It is convenient that we have an actual time for the performance, the time of that the broadcast started in the studios in New York City at 8 in the evening the day before Halloween.  If we look at the chart we see that the Moon is just beyond an opposition to Pluto: the opposition was exact about fire hours before the broadcast. In this case the Moon opposition Pluto indicated that the populace (Moon) was already primed to overreact and panic (Pluto) to this event.  Now obviously it helps that we know what event resulted.  Moon is opposite Pluto once a month, so while this always indicates that the people might be more prone to panic at this time, usually nothing occurs for people to act on the latent urge to panic.  The moon also make a tight trine to Mars which was exact a half hour before the broadcast.  Mars of course rules war, a very appropriate symbol for the event.  Then we have a loose opposition between Mercury — communications, such the radio — and Uranus– upsets.  Since the Moon is a fast moving planet, traveling about twelve degrees a day, its transits are not very consequential in the long, or even medium, run, but they are indicative of evens that happen at a certain time of that day.



Broadcast Transits to USA


For the chart of these same transits within the chart of the United States, we first of all see an exact Neptune Return of the US.  This is the first time that Neptune had returned to its natal position.  For human beings planetary returns are important for some “crisis” (not a negative term) in the nature of the planet involved.  For people, the most notable return is that of Saturn, which occurs ever 29 years or so.  At one time this led to the saying, among those who had not experienced their first Saturn Return, of “Never trust Anyone Over Thirty”.  In biographies we can notice that people often change around thirty, an you may notice that in your own life.  People truly become adults at that time.  The second Saturn Return is at age fifty eight, and a change occurs then that many do not recognize.  A third Saturn Return, which also corresponds, more or less, to the Uranus Return, occurs at age 85.  This is important but not much talked about.  But humans never have a Neptune Return (or a Pluto Return, which is very important and coming up for the United Sates) which occurs at about 160 years.  This Neptune Return of the US involved some Neptunian examples of illusion and deception, though perhaps not intended.

In addition, Mars has just passed over the Midheaven of the United States.  This happens every two years, so it is not uncommon, but its position shows that Mars-like things, especially War, occupied the consciousness of the United States and thus the citizens of that country.  We also see transiting Saturn aspecting the Sun, Moon, and Ascendant of the United States, as well as opposing its own natal position, reflecting the still depressed state of the populace in these waning days of the Great Depression, and also the further repression that was currently happening because of Roosevelt’s tightening of activities that ameliorated the Great Depression, resulting in what is called the Roosevelt Recession. One can see that a number of astrological factors occurred at the same time that permitted the panic following this radio broadcast to take place.  While obviously the combination of these factors, all minor, would not allow someone to forecast the consequences, upon hindsight it is possible to “hindcast” what in fact did happen.