In his ‘Book of World Horoscopes’, Nicholas Campion says, “The birthday of the USA is celebrated on 4 July, but in fact the crucial vote for independence was taken on 2 July 1776, and constitutional historians…. never tire of pointing this out. Contemporary press reports were in no doubt that this was so… Even the participants in the drama regarded this vote as the vital event in both political and symbolic terms.”
I doubt we shall ever have THE chart for the USA, whose chart is usually based on the 4 July Declaration of Independence, but for which the timing remains a matter of debate. In my first ever blog I argued for the Gemini Rising chart on 4 July, only to be informed by one Vedic astrologer that the usual 12 degrees Sagittarius Rising chart (Sibly) is in fact the right one. It must be comforting to be able to have that sort of certainty.
So there seems to be a strong case for a July 2nd Chart. As for the timing, all we know is that it was soon after lunch, based on the arrival time of a certain delegate from Delaware called Rodney, who had been called in to help swing the vote in favour of independence.
Even without a definite time, however, one crucial feature of the chart changes from the various 4 July charts: the Moon moves back from Aquarius to late Capricorn, where it conjoins Pluto at 27.36 Capricorn. The Moon in a mundane chart is the People (and the Sun is the Ruler).
SO ARE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AQUARIUS OR CAPRICORN? With Aquarius we can look at keywords such as freedom, democracy, progress, humanitarian, non-conformity. With Capricorn we can look at keywords such as cautious, conformist, conservative, hard-working, hierarchical.
I can certainly see the Capricorn (which is also to some extent explained by Sun in Cancer square to Saturn), with the added dose of paranoia and over-control explained by the conjunction with Pluto. Pluto is also about survival and how we do it, suggesting to me that much of the relentless drive and hard work (Capricorn) of Americans goes back to the real issue of survival that faced the early Americans, an issue that is well past its sell-by date, but which is still running (which the importance attached to Thanksgiving suggests). America is also strongly hierarchical, based on money – I heard the other day that the richest 10% of Americans own 90% of the wealth. Another important factor in favour of Capricorn is that if the people were Aquarius, we would expect to see a disjunction between the Government (Cancer) and the people (Aquarius), whereas the US government does seem to embody the character and will of the people, as evidenced by its remarkable stability.
As for the American people as Aquarius, I do not see them as radical, progressive or unusually humanitarian. The American populace seems to be characterised much more by conservatism, control and even meanness towards the less better off. Of course there are many Americans who are not like this, I’m talking much more in terms of how the country as a whole seems to function.
BUT, I hear you say, what about freedom and democracy? In the West we do have remarkable freedoms to speak our minds openly and publicly, to vote in and out our governments and to criticise them, and to lead our lives as we wish to. Of course there are limits, some of them unfair, but historically the situation is remarkable and who knows how long it can last? But these freedoms are not particularly American, they are part of the Age we live in. If anything, we could say they have grown out of the old European culture that both America and modern Europe come from.
As for Democracy, what is it? I realised recently that a big part of the reason I have not been able to understand the difference between Republican and Democrat – the British ideas of left and right wing not quite applying – is that in many ways what we are seeing are tribal loyalties. And I think that this is mainly how democracy works. You are e.g. a Republican voter or a Labour voter because your parents were, and it helps define your identity, your natural sense of wanting to belong.
Some years ago I read about a small African country with a relatively benign dictator, and the Americans were putting economic pressure on the country to become a democracy (no doubt for unsavoury reasons of their own). This dictator’s case was that if they became a democracy, the country would divide itself along racial and religious lines in ways that it currently wasn’t. Fair point. And we see this process in Iraq. Brutal as Saddam’s regime was, Shia and Sunni were able to get along at a local level, even though the government was a Sunni dictatorship. Now that we have ‘democracy’ in Iraq, these 2 communities are slaughtering each other. Extreme cases can sometimes be revealing, and in this case I think it reveals the tribal nature of democracy. It is essentially about tribes jostling for power, with a certain percentage of independent voters.
I think Aquarius describes the ideals of democracy, but the actuality is much better described by the Cancer-Capricorn axis, with a dose of Pluto thrown in, that we see in the US 2 July Chart.
What about the Angles for a July 2 Chart? In the Book of World Horoscopes, 4 pm is cautiously suggested, based on an undocumented source. This gives ASC-DESC axis at 27 Scorpio-Taurus, and MC-IC axis at 10 Virgo-Pisces. I’m not going to give an exhaustive analysis here, just a few things which work quite well. Scorpio rising: the US seeking of power and wealth is well known. We can also see this in Moon-Pluto in Capricorn in the 2nd House of wealth. Natal Uranus at 9 Gemini squares the MC-IC axis, reflecting the revolutionary and democratic origins of the country. Uranus is also in the 7th House, indicating the US desire to bring its democracy to other countries (or even impose it.) The Neptune-Pluto conjunction of 1891, which ushered in a whole new age with the US playing a central role, occurred at 8.38 Gemini, squaring the MC-IC axis.
Pearl Harbour occurred on 7 Dec 1941, with transiting Uranus (Bombs) at 28 Taurus, conjoining the natal DESC (House of Open Enemies). On Sept 11 2001, the Saturn-Pluto Opposition was squaring the MC-IC axis, shaking America to its roots (IC) and dominating the world stage (MC). In the early 1930s, as the Great Depression kicked in, Neptune was conjoining the natal MC. In 1963, when Kennedy was assassinated and the Cold War was at its peak, Pluto was conjoining the natal MC. In the late 1960s, a time of radicalism, protests, idealism and ‘flower-power’, Neptune conjoined the ASC, softening, perhaps, the hard-nosed drive for power and control. In the early 1990s, as Pluto approached the ASC at 27 Scorpio, the US won the Cold War.
The Pluto and Neptune transiting conjunctions to the MC and IC are perhaps the strongest single test of the validity of the timing of a chart, and this USA chart of 4pm, 2 July 1776 seems to pass with flying colours.
I’ve probably been a bit harsh on America so far, which I don’t want to do, so I would like to point out the Sun-Jupiter conjunction in Cancer (in all the USA charts), which describes their expansiveness, adventurousness and hospitality. It is, however, in the 8th House, meaning their big (Jupiter) home (Cancer) is in someone else’s country (the Indians, as well as the later economic imperialism). Natal Neptune is in the 10th, trine to the Moon, and though they obviously also had their own interests at stake (and who wouldn’t?), the US did play a crucial role in saving the world last century from German and Japanese imperialism. Their role in reconstructing Japan and Germany was remarkable and unprecedented, and reflects sadly on the current cock-up in Iraq.
In my last blog I was referring to the US Progressed Sun, Mars and Saturn, the 1st of which is changing sign at present, while the other 2 are going/have recently gone retrograde. Progressions work on the principle of a day for a year, so the Prog 2 July chart lags about 2 years behind the Prog 4 July chart. This doesn’t make much difference, as progressions mark long-term phases, which come in and pass away gradually, without necessarily having precise starting points. So what I said about the USA in the last blog still applies.