The Progressed Sun in the US Chart

Part I: 1945-1975

The progressed chart shows the evolution of the individual – although the natal chart, or birthchart, remains the same the progressed chart describes life changes that occur as we age and grow. The progressed Sun changes signs every 30 years, and the US Progressed Sun had been in Aquarius since April of 1975 following a stint in Capricorn.

The passage of the US Capricorn progressed Sun, from November 1945 through April 1975, beginning with the end of World War II and initiating a nationwide building period thatexpanded middle-class affluence throughout the country (unless you were African-American, but that’s another story). The GI bill made housing affordable for more and more families, and communities of tract housing such as Levittown sprang up across the country, beginning the suburban sprawl that would ultimately increase our dependence on automobiles and foreign oil.

The Oxford History of the United States includes a volume called Grand Expectations which covers the Progressed Sun in Capricorn period between 1965 and 1974. From the description on Amazon:

Beginning in 1945, America rocketed through a quarter-century of extraordinary economic growth, experiencing an amazing boom that soared to unimaginable heights in the 1960s. At one point, in the late 1940s, American workers produced 57 percent of the planet’s steel, 62 percent of the oil, 80 percent of the automobiles. The U.S. then had three-fourths of the world’s gold supplies. English Prime Minister Edward Heath later said that the United States in the post-War era enjoyed “the greatest prosperity the world has ever known.” It was a boom that produced a national euphoria, a buoyant time of grand expectations and an unprecedented faith in our government, in our leaders, and in the American dream–an optimistic spirit which would be shaken by events in the ’60s and ’70s, and particularly by the Vietnam War. . . .

Patterson excels at portraying the amazing growth after World War II–the great building boom epitomized by Levittown (the largest such development in history) and the baby boom (which exploded literally nine months after V-J Day)–as well as the resultant buoyancy of spirit reflected in everything from streamlined toasters, to big, flashy cars, to the soaring, butterfly roof of TWA’s airline terminal in New York. And he shows how this upbeat, can-do mood spurred grander and grander expectations as the era progressed.

Of course, not all Americans shared in this economic growth, and an important thread running through the book is an informed and gripping depiction of the civil rights movement–from the electrifying Brown v. Board of Education decision, to the violent confrontations in Little Rock, Birmingham, and Selma, to the landmark civil rights acts of 1964 and 1965. Patterson also shows how the Vietnam War–which provoked LBJ’s growing credibility gap, vast defense spending that dangerously unsettled the economy, and increasingly angry protests–and a growing rights revolution (including demands by women, Hispanics, the poor, Native Americans, and gays) triggered a backlash that widened hidden rifts in our society, rifts that divided along racial, class, and generational lines. And by Nixon’s resignation, we find a national mood in stark contrast to the grand expectations of ten years earlier, one in which faith in our leaders and in the attainability of the American dream was greatly shaken.

That period was a time of unmatched achievements and devastating tragedies.

Just as we would expect with the progressed Sun in Capricorn – the sign of building, hard work, discipine and achievement; in Capricorn our nose goes directly to the grindstone and we seek symbols of our new status. But this period also saw the more difficult aspects of Capricorn: the burdens of growth, disappointment in the new system. In the mid to late 1950s, when the US progressed Sun opposed the Sun in the US chart, the seams of the new system were beginning to unravel as it became obvious that the achievements which some enjoyed were not available to all. This time marked the birth of the civil rights movement.

The Cold War was born under the influence of the Capricorn progressed Sun which resists inflammatory behavior and prefers instead to build monuments and defense structures of protection rather than act aggressively as a more fiery sign would do. Although this period marked several wars (most notably the Korean War and the Vietnam War), these wars were sold as wars of protection rather than aggression, and this period marked one of the biggest buildups of defense spending in American history.

Obviously, as with any kind of Sun Sign astrology, the progressed Sun is just one aspect of the totality of the chart that includes other progressions and transits of orbiting planets to the natal chart. But it’s interesting to get a picture of this 30-year cycle through the progressed Sun.

Next:  Part II: The US Progressed Sun in Aquarius

and Part III: The Next 30 Years

By | 2007-09-03T11:32:00+00:00 September 3rd, 2007|Favorite posts, Longreads, Politics|Comments Off on The Progressed Sun in the US Chart

The health of President John F Kennedy

photo from the NYT archive

Asena asked in a comment, “What do you think about JFK’s birthchart? Is his birthtime accurate in your opinon.I somehow started to think that he might ha ve a different ASC than Libra after I read an article regarding his health problems.It seems to me that there is not indicators of the diseases he had diagnosed in his Libra rising birthchart.”

I hadn’t really looked at JFK’s chart and took a quick look to respond in the comments section but the comment quickly grew into a post of its own.

I hadn’t really looked at JFK’s birthchart so this was an interesting exercise. (click chart to enlarge, info 5/29/1917, 3 pm, Brookline MA) There is nothing in a Libra ascendant that would preclude health problems – in fact, the desire to please others that drives Libra can drive other more socially controversial aspects underground where they arise in health issues. The charm and charisma of JFK as well as his ability to reach out and connect with people is well described by a Libra ascendant, and this birthtime does show Saturn right on the MC where it reflects the pressure of his father (Saturn) pushing him into public life (MC). And in Cancer no less, demonstrating that his public life was part of the family dynamic and not just an individual ambition.

JFK had no oppositions that would aid him in reflection and give him perspective on issues, and he surrounded himself with good friends and aids to play that role. He had an exact square from Uranus to Mars in the 8th house, showing his rebellious streak as well as a fiery rage that may not have been able to find expression with the Libra asc and that heavy midheaven. With Chiron in the sixth house, even though it is well-aspected, there is a tendency to play out emotional issues through the physical body unless attention is paid to the body’s own healing mechanisms. Chiron is also the ruler of his twelfth house of unconscious influences.

JFK’s first physical ailment was at the age of 2 years 9 months (according to this excellent site) when he contracted scarlet fever and almost died, just as his progressed Moon was crossing that Libra ascendant. This just happened to be the time that the fourth Kennedy sibling was born, and JFK would have been rather ignored by his mother at that time. We already know that his father favored the eldest son, Joe Jr., and that JFK lived in the shadow of his older brother. He was already the third child, with a natal Virgo moon which often denotes a mother that is critical and demands perfection. The symbolism of the progressed Moon crossing the ascendant, which is where we are seen by others, signifies JFK’s need to be visible in his family, to cry out at that point for attention. His near death likely accomplished that goal.

At the age of 13, as Saturn began a transit over his IC and shortly thereafter opposed his natal Saturn (a difficult time for any young person) he wrote to his mother complaining of blindness in one eye as well as dizziness and fainting. A transit over the Midheaven/IC axis denotes a challenge to our very sense of being grounded on planet earth (IC) versus our obligations to our public life (Midheaven).

At the age of 17 JFK began a debilitating battle with colitis and other digestive problems, health issues that are usually associated with unexpressed anger as shown by the square of Uranus to Mars that could not be expressed outwardly. At the time these problems are said to have begun, JFK’s progressed Mars and Mercury were on the verge of a sign change from Taurus to Gemini, where they begin to draw more attention, and were exactly squared by progressed Chiron which would have started working on his mental (Mercury) and anger (Mars) issues.

Kennedy’s legendary sexual appetite is shown by the packed eighth house which includes Mars, which denotes not only anger but also shows our drive, which in the eighth house of sexuality tends to be very sexual in nature. The eighth house is also associated with death and intimacy, as well as the more prosaic “taxes and inheritance”. In 1936 and 1937 Kennedy’s progressed Moon traversed his eighth house, activating each planet there and creating an eruption of sexual adventures that resulted in nonspecific urethritis and other sexually transmitted disease.

In 1938, JFK’s progressed Moon entered Cancer (the progressed Moon takes 2-1/2 years to travel one sign, and the change of sign typically denotes a life change of some sort). Cancer is the sign that focuses on family obligations, and suddenly Kennedy must have been overwhelmed by the responsibilities to his family that ensued. He was finishing his senior thesis while a student at Harvard and must have been looking ahead to his future and this is when the back problems that plagued him throughout his life began (back problems are associated with a sense of being overburdened and not having enough support in life). He also sought treatment for abdominal pain during this period.

By 1943 JFK was crippled with back pain, correlating to a transit of Saturn over his Sun. He faced one of the greatest trials of his life at this time with the rescue of his PT-boat shipmates and the award of medals from both the Navy and the Marine Corps. The overwhelming sense of obligation for Kennedy, a Gemini with a light nature whose Saturn on the natal Midheaven denoted an individual with great responsibilities, was evidently more than he could handle. He evidently was hospitalized twice for back surgery during his Saturn return (1943-1945) although Kennedy’s medical history is sketchy and inconsistent.

In the fall of 1947 Kennedy was hospitalized with weakness, nausea and low blood pressure which was later diagnosed as Addison’s disease, an immune disorder. As an interesting corollation, Kennedy’s progressed Moon was again crossing his natal ascendant for the first time since he nearly died of scarlet fever at the age of two.

Between 1953 and 1955 Kennedy was hospitalized several times and nearly died as Chiron crossed the IC of his chart, opposing Saturn and his Midheaven. According to his widow Jackie, Kennedy’s most severe depression came in 1961, correlating to a transit of Saturn across the Midheaven/IC axis and opposing his natal Saturn. The fact that so many of Kennedy’s health problems occurred during periods of transits to the Midheaven/IC axis shows a deep inability to resolve his need to feel that he had a real place in the world (IC) with the pressure of his public responsibilities (Saturn on the Midheaven).

It is likely that Kennedy channeled the dissonant energy created by the Mars/Uranus square in his chart through his eighth house focus on sexuality. This helped to ease his inner frustration and dissipate the energy, but did not solve the more psychological issue of the need to express his own needs as described by Mars, and the frustration his inability to do so caused as indicated by the square from Uranus. In my experience, this sort of Mars problem is one of the most prevalent underlying causes of most undiagnosable health problems and immune disorders, such as fibromyalgia and Epstein-Barre syndrome.

This kind of astrological difficulty does not doom a person to a life of ill health. Understanding his need to act out his aggression in a healthy way (Mars/Uranus), setting positive boundaries within his family and between his public and private lives (Saturn on the MC), and encouraging him to take
periods of retreat where he could reconnect with himself on a deep level (Saturn opposing the MC) could have helped him to balance these energies in a way that was more productive and less debilitating for his health. Reclaiming the lost parts of ourselves brings about a greater wholeness and lessens the necessity for the body to create disease in order to get our attention.

By | 2007-05-23T10:08:00+00:00 May 23rd, 2007|Longreads, People, Politics|Comments Off on The health of President John F Kennedy

The Archetype and Astrological History of Ceres

CeresPart I: A history of the use of Asteroids in Astrology

Ceres was first discovered in 1801 and immediately classified as a planet. Shortly thereafter, several other bodies were discovered and classified as planets beginning with Pallas in 1802, Juno in 1804, Vesta in 1807, and later Astraea in 1845. When Neptune was discovered in 1846, it was much larger than the other bodies and was therefore retained as a planet and the others were demoted to the asteroid belt along with thousands more asteroids that were discovered over the next 200 years. The “major” asteroids languished there until in a surge of interest in women’s issues in the 1960s and 1970s inspired the later use of the asteroids in astrological analysis.

We could argue that the modern women’s movement in the US began in 1966 with the founding of the National Organization of Women (NOW) (it incorporated formally the following year) when the Uranus and Pluto were exactly conjunct in Virgo, setting off cultural revolutions of various kinds around the world. In the mid to late 1970s the feminist movement inspired research into the history of women in societies that were matriarchal in nature, and the subsequent return of goddess worship in the form of neo-pagan rituals. In 1976, with Saturn trine Neptune, Merlin Stone’s book When God was a Woman retold the Judaeo-Christian story from the feminine perspective, reaching back beyond the god Yahweh to earlier matriarchal cultures and female deities. This groundbreaking work opened the doors to the study of earlier goddesses and their applications in women’s issues.

In the astrological pantheon of the time Venus was the only feminine archetypes. The love goddess that we know as Venus is significantly watered down from her origins as Innana, Ishtar, Hathor, Ashtoreth and Astarte, various incarnations of the same pagan goddess, slandered in the bibles and expunged from history They were powerful goddesses associated with fertility and sexuality and considered more powerful than their male counterparts. This must have terrified the priesthoods. Ashtoreth, the Hebrew incarnation of this goddess, was called the female demon of lust. The Greeks called her Aphrodite, but their patriarchal society necessitated the diminution of her powers and she was relegated to her role as the goddess of love and beauty. The Romans stripped her power as Venus even more, resulting in the cartoon character we have today.

The Moon of course is not a planet and although it deals with the emotional nature and the quality of nurturing, those are not exclusively feminine qualities.

The feminist atmosphere of the 1970s made its way into the field of astrology, and in 1986 the groundbreaking work by Demetra George called Asteroid Goddesses made four new feminine archetypes available to astrologers. The four major asteroids she covers are Juno, Ceres, Pallas and Vesta, but there are thousands more (both male and female), each with their own astrological symbolism. The use of asteroids by astrologers is not all that common (although I worked with them briefly in the late 1980s but ultimately found they didn’t really speak to me). With the inclusion of Ceres into the planetary pantheon the other asteroids are likely to make their way into the astrological language as well.

I have always had a particular affinity for Astraea (the Starry One), the goddess of innocence and purity and the last of the immortals to live with humans after the other gods had retreated to Mount Olympus as a result of the wickedness of man. She was a goddess of justice, and is often depicted as holding the Libran scales although she is also associated with the constellation Virgo. Perhaps she will return to play a role in the difficult times that are to come.

As I’ve written elsewhere in this column, the inclusion of Ceres into a new category with Pluto, astrological god of transformation, likely indicates a new element of the transformational process. Tomorrow’s column will explore the archetype of Ceres and her astrological functions.

Part II: The Archetype of Ceres

Ceres is the Roman name for Demeter, the Goddess of the Grain. Demeter means “the mother” (de meter) and Ceres is said to be from the root ker meaning “to grow.” Although some researchers believe Ceres and Demeter were two separate goddesses, most historians equate the two. (There is an asteroid called Demeter but she is not commonly used in the astrological pantheon.) Some sources report that Ceres was the fourth sister-wife of Jupiter, king of the gods, with whom she bore her daughter Kore (Persephone), precluding her from the unmarried state that would associate her with the sign of Virgo (more on that later).

ceres mourningThe story of the abduction of Persephone forms the fundamental Ceres/Demeter archetype. Persephone was gathering flowers in a meadow when the earth split open and Hades/Pluto emerged in a gold chariot pulled by black horses, grabbed her, and stole her away to the Underworld. Demeter heard Persephone’s cries for help and went to find her, searching high and low, not stopping to eat or drink. One day she reached Eleusis and was found by the daughters of the King. She commanded that a temple be built for her there and there she sat, grieving for her lost daughter and refused to perform her functions of nurturing the land. As a result, the crops died and famine threatened the entire human race. Zeus took pity on her and induced Hades to free Persephone in order to ease Demeter’s grief and restore the land. But Hades, knowing that if Demeter ate while in the Underworld she would have to return to him, gave her some pomegranate seeds and as a result she was compelled to spend one-third of the year (winter) in the Underworld.

Like all divine personages of the Greek and Roman pantheon, Ceres has a dual nature. She is the “greatest cause of joy” in the giving of the grain, but can also cause deprivation, starvation and hunger. Her wrath was legendary: after the abduction of her daughter, she turned the attending handmaidens into the bird-shaped Sirens. She was the goddess of more than grain; she presided over fruits, seeds and most vegetables as well. Because agriculture formed the wealth of the society, she is also associated with abundance and the gifts of the gods. When a villager did not offer her hospitality during her visit to the town, she burned down his house with him in it. Those who did welcome her into their home received abundant gifts.

Demeter had eight children altogether, and her son Ploutos is associated with diligence and acquisition of property.

The Eleusinian Mysteries originated in the temple of Eleusis in which Ceres/Demeter spent her grieving period after her daughter’s abduction. The Mysteries took place during an annual festival that lasted for nine days, during which there was an international truce which allowed worshippers to travel from all corners of the Greek world. Little of the details of the rites of this festival are known because they were treated with absolute secrecy, but they were thought to give protection during life and afterwards as well. The rites included periods of fasting and a special drink which may have had hallucinogenic properties, as well the probably reenactment of the abduction and resurrection of Persephone from the Underworld. It is likely that the hieros gamos or Sacred Marriage was performed between the Priestess and the Hierophant in a fertility rite.

The primary archetype of Ceres is that of the mother. She is the provider not only of food, but also of spiritual sustenance and a faith that life will be reborn from the Underworld. Ceres represents not only the nurturing qualities of the mother, but also the ebb and flow of women’s reproductive cycles that are tied to the Moon. The offering of food to others is a hallmark of the Ceres archetype, as Ceres ruled over the bounty of the harvest. Ceres was the most generous of all the goddesses, providing care on all levels.

The dark side of the Ceres archetype includes depression and loss. The depression of Ceres/Demeter after the loss of her daughter was so great that she withdrew and would willingly have caused the death of all humanity through famine. She cannot bear to lose her adult child who leaves the home to begin her own life and marriage (in most versions of the story Persephone/Kore ultimately finds happiness with Hades/Pluto and settles into a life of comfortable domesticity as Queen of the Underworld). Ceres/Demeter became virtually possessed by her grief and legend in her destructiveness. That which nourishes becomes that which destroys.

More on Ceres: The Astrological Symbolism

By | 2017-04-02T09:43:16+00:00 October 9th, 2006|Favorite posts, Longreads, Planets|Comments Off on The Archetype and Astrological History of Ceres

The Rise of the Religious Right: A Cultural History

Part I: Setting the Stage

religious-rightIt’s useful to begin this discussion by reviewing the dialectical process of transformation: First there is a change in the culture (the thesis), followed by a reaction to that change (antithesis) and the resolution that results (synthesis).

In recent history, perhaps we can trace the current religious right back to the cultural upheavals of the 1960s during the conjunction of Uranus and Pluto that occurred in Virgo. I can’t improve on the way Palden Jenkins describes the combination of Uranus Pluto on his fantastic Historical Ephemeris site:

Uranus and Pluto do not automatically signify forward change. They bend the bars and blow holes in the walls, leaving us to respond to the acute options presented. One sector of society might take one path, and another sector might take another. It’s not always ‘the people’ who lead and the saturnine authorities which resist – ‘revolution from above’ happens too, as Mao Tsedong attempted in the 1960s Chinese Cultural Revolution.Uranus and Pluto have their own characteristic styles of creating resistance and conservatism. They can push people up against their fears, exacerbating resistance to change by threatening insecurity or disaster. Uranus’ resistances include the diversion of social energies. Two examples are the starting of the Napoleonic wars and of WW1, both of which captured nascent popular energies which became dangerous to the established order. Yet when one plays with such forces, they can backfire. Uranus can hijack new initiatives by forms of trickery too, as in the revolutions of 1848, when European bourgeoisies filched the restless energies of factory workers to strengthen their own power.

Pluto’s resisting patterns include outright oppression and escalation of social control. Two relatively recent examples were the stamping out of protest and the illegalisation of LSD around 1968-70 [followed by CIA mind control experiments using that drug in the early 1960s] or, worse, the Nazi takeover in Germany in 1933 (during a Uranus-Pluto square). Here, suppression of minorities disguised the subtle control and coercion of majorities. Another Plutonine example is the use of abject fear and destruction – a recent example being the use of defoliants and napalm in Vietnam in the late 1960s.

Genghiz Khan, master of medieval blitzkrieg, set the Mongols on the rampage around the 1201 Uranus-Pluto conjunction (in Cancer). By the square of 1236-39 they threatened Eurasia, and by the opposition of 1283-86 they ruled much of it. The zenith of the neo-Mongol terror-merchant Timurlenk, reputed for his piles of skulls, occurred later during the major configuration of the 1390s (mentioned in an earlier article), with Uranus and Pluto in opposition. Terror indeed.

There’s a hidden twist and kick-back: these forces are, after all, uncontrollable. The energy of revolutions can often turn to chaos, leading to the re-creation in new form of what was destroyed: Louis XVI’s execution in 1793 turned into the emperorship of Napoleon by 1799, and Czar Nicholas’ death in 1917 lead to the rise of Stalin in 1924. The historical lesson here is that, if forces of change are blocked, they turn savage, leading to excess and consequent reaction, giving power to historical figures with the spunk to take advantage of a situation. Yet such power-holders usually embody something in the collective psyche which craves authoritarian control, even if demanding the opposite.

The influences of Uranus and Pluto are not simple and clear-cut. During the Uranus-Pluto square of 1933-34, a pressing need to reactivate sagging economies after the worldwide crash of 1929 led in Germany to Hitler’s rise (he was seen at first as a reformer and national saviour) and in USA to Roosevelt’s New Deal (an enlightened move which actually gave background military-business interests an insidious leg-up). Similarly, in the mid-1960s conjunction, there was a mixed outpouring in pop music of both light (“All you need is love”) and dark energies (“I am the god of hell-fire…”), bringing very confused archetypes into the public domain.

civil-rightsThe social and cultural change that occurred in the 1960s, while thrilling and exhilarating to those who embraced it, was shockingly frightening to those who resisted the force of change. Free love and sexual expression, the explosion of mind-altering drugs, the rise of Black Power and women’s rights. Nothing was the same and everything was different, and this cultural upheaval planted the seeds for the conservative reaction that came later. We can trace this reaction through the evolution of the Saturn/Jupiter cycle in which we find ourselves today.

The dance between Saturn and Jupiter acts out the idea of action/reaction. Jupiter takes action: it’s expansive, dynamic, hopeful. Jupiter is willing to step out and make changes; however, Jupiter can be somewhat reckless and overconfident which is where Saturn steps in. Saturn acts as the reaction agent, setting boundaries and limitations to confine the impulses of Jupiter. Saturn therefore represents the conservative impulse. Saturn and Jupiter were conjunct in Capricorn in 1961, coinciding with the inauguration of President Kennedy. One could say Kennedy was the first truly liberal president in the US since FDR, and his election was the catalyst for a new wave in politics, fashion, and the culture in general. That was the year of the birth of the civil rights movement, when the Freedom Riders rode through Mississippi protesting the treatment of black Americans.

Jupiter made its opening (waxing) square to Saturn in July of 1965 and the first combat troops were sent to Vietnam, marking the beginning of the end of the expansive idealism (Jupiter) of the early 1960s. The waxing square presents a challenge, and as the repressive forces of Saturn moved in Jupiter erupted in a violent effort to continue the expansion of the previous years. Uranus and Pluto were in tight conjunction that year and police attacked civil rights demonstrators in Selma, after which President Johnson signed into law the civil rights bill which was later expanded to include rights for women. A tornado outbreak in April (when Mars was conjunct Uranus) brought fifty-seven tornadoes to the midwest, a vivid symbolism for the upheaval of Uranus and Pluto, and the Watts riots erupted during the Long Hot Summer.

A conjunction of Jupiter to Uranus and the entry of Saturn into Taurus in 1969 brought a tremendous surge of creative energy in the form of several powerful cultural events that marked the culmination and implosion of the social change of the 1960s: Woodstock festival and the Moon landing, followed shortly by the Manson murders and the violent Altamont festival. Saturn is the most conservative of planets, since it strives to maintain order and preserve form. In Taurus, the sign of stability and resistance to change, Saturn stubbornly holds to the status quo. That resistance creates more tension when opposed by the desire of Jupiter for expansion, and the oppression becomes more severe. 1970 continued the slaughter of the 1960s ideals as the counterculture imploded following the Kent State murders and the death of Janis Joplin.

In the background, the backlash was beginning.


woodstockOne underlying thread of influence throughout this period is the continuing opposition of Chiron (exposing the wounds in the culture) with Uranus (individuation and radical new ideas). This is too complex to cover in this context but I’ll drop these tantalizing tidbits: Chiron and Uranus were in opposition fairly consistently during the period between 1952 and 1989 with over 40 exact oppositions. The pressure on the culture worldwide to permit individual rights (Uranus) and the painful results of not doing so (Chiron) is one of the overall most important factors in the rise of the empowerment of the Self that we have seen over the past 60 years.

After the cultural upheavals of the 1960s, the final event in the opposition of Jupiter to Saturn took place in November of 1970 coinciding with the passage of Neptune (spirituality) from Scorpio (sexuality, the occult and death), where it had been since the 1950s. During Neptune’s passage through Scorpio, psychedelic drugs became associated with spiritual experiences, and the occult became popular. In 1966, during Neptune’s passage through Scorpio, Time Magazine asked the question on everyone’s mind, “Is God Dead?” about a spiritual movement that arose during the 1960s which argued that the sacred had disappeared from modern culture. The Supreme Court decision banning prayer from public schools was often cited as a cause of this problem, as well as easy access to contraceptives that led to a more lenient attitude about sexuality (Scorpio) and premarital sex became more common.

The ingress in 1970 of Neptune into Sagittarius, the sign of religion and shared ideals, brought a new concept of spirituality (Neptune) into religion (Sagittarius). This was the cusp of the New Age movement in which one experienced God, rather than just believe in God. The dissolution (Neptune) of the role of traditional religion (Sagittarius) must have been very frightened to the more conservative Christians who felt their way of life slipping away, particularly after the increasing demands of power from women and black Americans.

Pluto’s entry into Libra in 1971 marked the explosion of the feminist movement and a decade of that was later termed by Tom Wolfe as the “Me Decade” for its focus on individual rights (Pluto in Libra created a breakdown (Pluto) in established relationship patterns (Libra)). Gender roles for women (Venus/Libra) were transformed, with more women entering the workforce than ever before. The entire system of marriage irrevocably changed during the Pluto/Libra period as families dealt with issues such as day care that had not previously been an issue when women stayed home.

The first sign of the conservative backlash may have been the fight by Phyllis Schafly against women’s rights. While her fight began in the late 1960s, it wasn’t until 1972 when she campaigned against the proposed Equal Rights Amendment that her battle against feminism went public, galvanizing conservatives across the country.

The Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade in 1973 that granted women the right to an abortion was perhaps the single most important event in the rise of the Christian conservative movement. The case of Roe v. Wade was first argued in late December of 1971, but reargued in October of 1972 in time for Jupiter to square Pluto, overturning (Pluto) the laws against abortion in Texas and liberating (Jupiter) women to make their own decisions about their body.

After Roe v. Wade, and the decision to ban prayer in the public schools, the conservative Christian movement began to organize. Jesse Helms began a group called the Conservative Caucus as a political action and lobbying group to advance conservative causes, and various conservative Christian groups began to form. After Nixon was forced to resign in 1974 during a square of Pluto to Saturn which created upheaval (Pluto) in the government during the Watergate crisis, the Vietnam War finally ended in April of 1975. Jupiter was conjunct Chiron and squared Saturn, combination which continued into 1976 along with a square of Saturn to Uranus. At times the four planets interacted in a powerful Grand Cross, exposing (Chiron) the Watergate scandal (Jupiter/Saturn), breaking up (Uranus) established patterns (Saturn). This era saw the downfall of Richard Nixon, two assassination attempts on Gerald Ford, the first public right-to-die debate over the fate of Karen Ann Quinlan.

In other parts of the world, Palestinian terrorism increased following Israel’s victory in the Six Day War in 1967 and the Yom Kippur war of 1973, and Islamic fundamentalism begins to grow in Arab states (particularly the Muslim Brotherhood, later run by Al Zahawiri who went on to lead Al Qaeda).


raptureIn 1976 Jimmy Carter campaigned for president on a campaign promise to heal the “malaise” the country was experiencing as the result of a poor economy and the Iran hostage crisis. Malaise is a great description for the Jupiter/Saturn experience as the expansion of Jupiter battles with the restrictions of Saturn. Saturn saps the energy of Jupiter and can cause tremendous fatigue. The square of Saturn to Uranus strives to bring form (Saturn) to new ideas (Uranus) (this configuration also witnessed the beginnings of Apple Computer and Microsoft) but also brings repression (Saturn) against new ways of thought (Uranus), leading to the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1978-1979.

During Carter’s administration the Christian right was mobilizing in response to what they saw as a threat to their way of life. The group American Christian Cause was formed in 1974 shortly after the Roe v. Wade decision as a means to gain more political influence. This group later evolved into the Christian Voice and the Moral Majority in 1978, which campaigned actively for a voice in the Republican party. Having lost much of their power during the explosive social revolutions in the 1960s when their participation in groups such as the KKK gave them a public image as bigots and backwards, they seized the opportunity to use the backlash against the cultural revolution to gain political power. These new political groups used issues that were of concern to cultural conservatives, but used a religious bias. An excellent article cataloguing the rise of the religious right is this one by Bryan F. LeBeau.

Neptune in Sagittarius was trine Pluto in Libra during a long period from 1974 through 1982 that coincides with the rise of the political Christian right. Neptune in Sagittarius in its highest expression integrates spirituality and experience of the divine (Neptune) with religion and theology (Sagittarius), and when in trine to Pluto we saw an increase in power (Pluto) particularly through alliances (Libra) of like-minded individuals. This time period also saw the rise of alternative medicine, the healing arts and spiritual philosophies that were not necessarily doctrinary approaches to religion. However, the connection between religion and spirituality did increase during this period, and fundamentalist Christian groups expanded in number and power along with a number of more nontraditional religions.

The square of Saturn to Neptune between 1978 and 1980 brought repression (Saturn) and confusion (Neptune), personified most vividly perhaps in the Iranian revolution of 1979 and the worldwide energy crisis that resulted, as well as the taking of American hostages. The Saturn/Neptune cycle is often associated with oil and gas (Neptune) shortages (Saturn), and because Neptune rules that which is hidden from view and mysterious, such as the hostage crisis. (The hostage crisis became even more mysterious when Reagan negotiated the announcement of the release of the hostages to occur after he took office so Carter would receive none of the credit.)

Ronald Reagan was the first presidential candidate to welcome the influence of the new conservative Christian political groups, the most powerful of which was Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority. Pat Boone was a close confidant, and Jerry Falwell met with Reagan more than any other religious leader. Jerry Falwell claimed that the Moral Majority was responsible for the election of Reagan, but regardless of the truth of this statement and the fact that Reagan was fascinated by astrology and UFOs conservative Christians loved him because of his stand on abortion and the fact that he believed that Armageddon was close at hand. The Jim Bakker sex scandal eroded support for the Moral Majority after Jerry Falwell took over Bakker’s PTL ministry, and the Moral Majority closed it’s doors in 1979.

Reagan made promises to the conservative Christian lobby that he would advance their agenda, but in reality he did not do much for Christian fundamentalist causes, focusing instead on economic recovery and dealing with the Soviet Union. Reagan’s failure to keep his promises (coinciding with the end of the Neptune/Pluto trine that brought a new wave of power (Pluto) to spiritual groups (Neptune)) led these groups to realize that they needed to build power themselves rather than rely on a friend in the presidency.

In 1983 Pluto entered its own sign of Scorpio and began to break down the established power structures (quite literally in the case of the Berlin wall). Neptune entered Capricorn in 1984 and gave rise to the fantasy (Neptune) of quick gains in the stock market (Scorpio) and the desire for acquisition and success (Capricorn) as noted in the popular television shows “Dallas” and “Dynasty” and the film “Wall Street.” Although the power of the Religious Right had wained during the mid-1980s, the threat of AIDS (Death by sex = Pluto in Scorpio) was portrayed as punishment for the free sexuality of the previous decades and inspired a new generation of conservative Christians. When Saturn conjuncted Uranus in 1988-89 and then Neptune, the repressive forces of Saturn again came into play resulting in a new wave of extremism both from conservative Christians in the US and from Islamists, including the birth of Al Qaeda in 1989. The three major battlegrounds for the religious right are what they perceive as the loss of morality, the rise of feminism and what they perceive as the destruction of the family, and the rise of gay and lesbian rights movements. All three battlegrounds are symbolized by Pluto and Scorpio, and the period from 1983 through 1995 when Pluto traveled through Scorpio created tremendous anxiety for conservative Christians and inspired a huge growth in the intensity (Pluto/Scorpio) of the movement.

This time it was Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition that became the public face of the Christian right on the heels of Jimmy Swaggart’s own sex scandal in 1988. George HW Bush used Reagan-esque tactics of pandering to the Right in order to be elected, but then failed to satisfy their demands and consequently lost to Bill Clinton in 1992, beginning what I like to think of as the Golden Age. The Golden Age also saw the conjunction of Uranus to Neptune in Capricorn that released a sudden wave of radical new ideas (Uranus) and brought fringe spiritual groups (Neptune) into the mainstream (Capricorn). The wave of Christian fundamentalism that was radicalized during the Saturn/Uranus conjunction lost influence after Clinton was reelected in 1996.

Pluto’s entry into Sagittarius marked the beginning of religious and ideological (Sagittarius) wars (Pluto) on many different fronts. The fundamentalist Taliban gained power in 1995 and seized control of Kabul in 1996. In 1997, the Republican-led House of Representatives voted to support the use of the National Guard to prevent removal of the Ten Commandments from a courtroom and members of the Heaven’s Gate cult committed mass suicide. Osama bin Laden openly declared war on the US in 1998. In 1999 various states passed resolutions requiring schools to display the Ten Commandments or to say the Christian Lord’s Prayer.

In March of 2001, with Mars (warfare) conjunct Pluto in Sagittarius, the Taliban blew up (Pluto) the famous 2000 year old Buddhas (Sagittarius). Then on the September 11th came destruction (Pluto) by planes (Sagittarius). Shortly thereafter Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell blamed this action on the ACLU, abortion, and gay people. September 11th and the debacle of the Iraq war combined with the rise of Islamic fundamentalist warfare is seen by many as heralding the end of the world, the Armageddon. We are concluding the pass of Pluto through Sagittarius in 2008 and Pluto is wrapping up the issues of the culture wars, but the battle between fundamentalism and reason has really just begun and will, I believe, be the battle we face as we approach the square of Uranus (radicalism) in Aries (warriors) to Pluto (destruction and change) in Capricorn (social structures, governments, corporations).


By | 2017-04-02T09:41:14+00:00 July 18th, 2006|Favorite posts, Longreads, Politics|Comments Off on The Rise of the Religious Right: A Cultural History

Moving from the Age of Pisces to the Age of Aquarius

As a species, we are currently crossing from the Age of Pisces into the Age of Aquarius. Although many people consider the Age of Pisces to begin at year 0 with the birth of Jesus with Aquarian Age beginning at 2000, most astronomers agree that the Age of Pisces actually begin in year 498 C.E., indicating entry into Aquarius in 2658 C.E.

Under the Age of Pisces we have seen the Piscean archetypes of sacrifice of the individual ego, universal love and compassion, assimilation, and the more negative projections of illusion, fantasy and delusion. Each astrological age has been represented by a deistic pantheon; the end of each age is marked by the ending of the worship of that pantheon. The Piscean Age has been marked by the growth of the three major monotheistic religions, each of which claims to be the only correct one, and the attempted dissolution of the individual ego. As we move from the Piscean age into Aquarius, the awakener, we are being shown that the Emperor doesn’t have any clothes, that any unreality upon which we have based our religious foundations will be shattered in the upcoming years. The ideas in The Da Vinci Code have been around for 2000 years, but they are only now erupting into the public awareness. What will this mean for humanity?

The equatorial bulge of the earth causes a shifting in the earth’s axis and the point at which the Sun at the vernal equinox points to the zodiacal constellations. This phenomenon is known as the “Precession” and creates the period of 25,920 years that we call the “Great Year.” The “Great Year” is divided into twelve “Great Ages” each of approximately 2160 years. Because of the “orb of influence,” or “orb,” which describes the fact that a change in sign makes itself known several degrees before the actual change (also known as the “cusp”), there is some flexibility to the 2160 figure.

While the Great Ages certainly go back to the formation of the Earth itself, the Ages that are known to us are:

Age of Leo: 10,300-8,140 BCE. Modern scientific techniques, looking at erosion patterns, agree with the great sage Edgar Cayce, who dated the great Sphinx of Egypt back to a period of great rains in that country, something which hasn’t happened since the end of the ice age (typically considered to be 10,500 BCE). Although little is known of this period, it could have presided over a “Golden Age” (Leo rules gold) where the Sun was worshipped as the primordial god of light and life.

Age of Cancer: 8,140-6,000 BCE. Cancer is the sign of the Moon and the Mother, and this Age corresponded to the worship of the Great Goddess and the Moon. Cancer is a water sign, and many scientists believe that this period corresponded to the end of the ice age and the Great Deluge of myth that resulted from catastrophic melting of glaciers. As humans began to form tribes they became more concerned with family groupings and geneaology, another hallmark of Cancer. Women were considered the source of creation since they bore the children.

Age of Gemini: 6,000-3,800 BCE. Gemini rules communication and speech, and this age saw the development of the first written languages and establishment of villages. The cult of Twin Gods in creation myths began during this period (twins represented the masculine and feminine principle). The wheel and plough are invented (Gemini rules thoughts and ideas), aiding in the spread of agriculture.

Age of Taurus: 3,800-1,660 BCE. Agriculture (Taurus is ruled by the Earth and Venus) makes its way throughout cultures in the Americas, Africa and Asia. The first temples were built in Mesopotamia and the first jewelry and aesthetic objects (Venus) are created. Bull cults (Taurus is symbolized by the bull) were dominant in Greece and Egypt, and the worship of the more sexualized goddess Innana/ Ishtar/ Ashtoreth also became popular.

The Age of Aries (1,662 BCE – 498 CE) was the Age of the Hero and the Warrior. The eruption of the volcano Santorini in 1680 destroyed the Minoan civilization and along with it their Bull cult (age of Taurus). This age was marked synchronistically by the Indo-Aryan (Aries) migration and the beginnings of cattle domestication (conquering the Bull god). Rituals of the Mithraic cult involved slaughtering of bulls, which has come down to us today as the bullfight. The gods of the Age of Aries, as in each age before them, eradicated the gods that preceded them.

Little is known about the origins of the Aryan people, but they were warriors possessing military technology superior to that of their neighbors, facilitating their takeover of much of Asia during this period. The Arien Age also witnessed the first Olympic games in Greece and the development of the Greek and Roman empire. The Hero archetype was central to the Greek and Roman cultures, with their gods who were constantly doing battle. Yahweh, the god of the Jewish people who gained prevalence during this time, combined characteristics of both the Warrior and the Hero. He demanded the transformation of the Hero in his disciple Abraham, and advised on military conquests.

Finally our own Age of Pisces (498 – 2,658 CE ), symbolized by the Fish, and representing the Sacred descending to the Mundane world. Pisces rules universal compassion, sacrifice of the individual Ego, and martyrdom. Pisces is a feminine sign, yet during the reign of Pisces we have seen the suppression and re-emergence of the feminine, and no story tells this quite as dramatically as the transformation of Mary Magdalene, the real story behind The DaVinci Code. The Church recently admitted that Mary Magdalene was not a prostitute but a true follower. However, when the Nag Hammadi scrolls were discovered and translated, it was revealed that Mary was more than a follower but an actual apostle, giving rise anew to theories of Mary having been wife to Jesus.

The story of the life and death of Jesus the Christ and the evolution of the religion that bears his name mirrors the Piscean age perfectly. Pisces is sign of the water element, and the origin of Christianity finds Jesus being baptized in a river, symbolizing the dissolution of the personal ego into the river of faith, a ritual that continues today. Even in pre-Christian times, the sacred wells of the British Isles were places where the gods and goddesses would be present. The teachings of Jesus express the Piscean values of compassion, universal love and brotherhood. However, last 2000 years have not always expressed those concepts in their highest form.

Art by Marius Fine Art

The call for the end of individualism and the necessity for blind belief that marks the evolution of the Piscean age has led to the more negative manifestation of Pisces: illusion and delusion. The famed Dark Ages in western civilization occurred because the ruling Roman Catholic Church wanted to suppress all knowledge and keep their adherents in the literal darkness. At that time the realm of knowledge spread to the Arab world, which is now in its own Dark Age.

The date for the end of the Piscean age is in much dispute. As earlier discussed, most would like the Ages to fit into a nice 2000 year package which would put us squarely in the beginning of the Aquarian age. However, astronomical calculations tell us that this is not true, and that the Aquarian age technically will not begin until approximately 2600 CE. Regardless, we are in the last decan of Pisces and moving away from the Pisces influence of sacrifice of the individual ego. As the Piscean mists begin to separate, the knowledge and understanding that Aquarius demands is beginning to make itself known.

The religion of Christianity is built around the death and resurrection of Jesus, yet for 2000 years that very tenet has been in doubt. The four gospels each tell a completely different story of the end of the life of Jesus, and there are no details of the resurrection. As with much of the Christian story (and I mean no offence to Christians here), the story of the resurrection must be taken on faith. There are some questions as to whether Jesus even died on the cross – a mysterious individual named Simon the Cyrene offered to carry Jesus’s cross, and some theorize that it was Simon that actually died on the cross and not Jesus. Others question whether the “vinegar and gall” given to Jesus wasn’t snake venom that caused him to fall into a swoon, thereby fooling the Romans into thinking he had died when in fact he was in a deep unconscious state. Pontius Pilate “marvelled if he were already dead” and changed the established procedure of leaving him on the cross to be eaten by carrion, but instead authorized that his body be brought down to leave in his tomb. Many believe that Jesus and Mary were then spirited out of Jerusalem and taken to Europe where they lived happily ever after.

For centuries these ideas were suppressed and their adherents tortured and murdered for heresy, but in the 20th century these ideas began to spring forth anew such as the book Holy Blood and Holy Grail. First published in 1982, this book was a cult classic until the Dan Brown’s novel “The Da Vinci Code” appeared on the scene. Evidently the collective consciousness is now ready to absorb these ideas and begin to examine the truth that lies behind the faith.

As we enter the Aquarian Age, what will our new gods be? Aquarius rules technology and radical thought, invention and ascension. The last Aquarian age (around 28,000 BC) marked the end of the Neanderthal and the birth of Cro Magnon man. Will our species be similarly transformed over the next 2500 years? We can try to predict the future, but life has a way of evolving in a way that we cannot imagine.

By | 2006-05-25T10:46:00+00:00 May 25th, 2006|Age of Aquarius, Featured posts, Longreads|Comments Off on Moving from the Age of Pisces to the Age of Aquarius