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Happy Birthday, America!

Well, sort of. Not meaning to be the skunk at the garden party, I do have some philosophical issues with the US Sibly chart, the most commonly used version of the birth chart for the United States. It’s not the time I quibble with; it’s the date.

 

You see, July 4, 1776 and the signing of the Declaration of Independence was a wonderful moment, a watershed for democracy and freedom such as the world had never known. However … not really a birth, per se. More of a conception, really. The idea of America was born that day, but the Declaration didn’t make us free; it took seven years of war for that. And it certainly didn’t unite us into one nation – when Jefferson wrote of the “United States” of America, he meant “united in purpose; united in our goal.” Nobody at the time had any notion that we were one country – no, we were very clearly 13 would-be sovereign states, and although as Franklin put it, “we must all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately,” that was a matter of practicality, not politics.

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The White House, where all the magic happens; but is it Black Magic or White?

But no one is free just because they say so. You can search every page of Nick Campion’s “Book of World Horoscopes,” and not find another country whose chart is based on a self-referential fiat. I’m familiar with the concept of American exceptionalism, but I don’t think it extends as far as astrology.

 

Nevertheless, it is the chart of record, and it works, as will any chart of any pivotal moment in any life. And there’s a lot the chart has to tell us, beyond the typical planetary, House and Sign elements. I’m talking, of course, about asteroids. Those little space debris buggers have the inside scoop on what makes the country, and its leaders, tick. From George “I cannot tell a lie” Washington to Donald “fake news” Trump, the story of America was laid out in startling detail that hot, dusty July afternoon in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

 

For starters, there’s asteroid America itself. At 27 Libra, fittingly, America ties to the essential underlying polarity of the American experience, that troublesome opposition from Mercury at 24 Cancer to Pluto at 27 Capricorn. Among other things, this describes the tension between populism and plutocracy, everyday commerce and big business, Main Street and Wall Street. And as the T-Square fulcrum of that opposition, America is where that clash manifests itself, in the very heart and soul of the country. Right next to America is asteroid House at 25 Libra, a harbinger of Lincoln’s “house divided against itself”, and a symbol of our legislative body, the House of Representatives. America is also exactly trine the Moon, the populace, at 27 Aquarius, reminding us of Lincoln’s government “of the people, by the people, for the people.”

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General George Washington, first President of the United States; with asteroid Washingtonia conjunct asteroid Truth, he could not tell a lie

But is it government by and for the people? America opposes asteroid Nemesis at 28 Aries, which is itself conjoined by asteroid Washingtonia at 0 Taurus. This suggests that the federal government, seated in the capital of Washington DC, is more of a hindrance, antagonist or enemy, a source of undoing (all Nemesis) for the country: the government (Washingtonia) opposed the people (America). That’s a position at least half the country seems to take at any one time, and perhaps they’re right.

 

Look at the Declaration’s Sun: at 13 Cancer, it’s squared Saturn at 14 Libra. That’s oppressive, all right. It’s rules and regulations, enforcement, and penalties for noncompliance. Moreover, the Sun conjoins asteroid Lie at 17 Cancer; there’s a basic underlying dishonesty with this combination, something which presents itself as Truth, but isn’t. Like all men being equal, while counting black slaves as three fifths of a person, a dirty little compromise reached during the Constitutional Convention (now that’s when you birth a nation, when you give it a government!). Like school children being taught about the first Thanksgiving, with Pilgrims and Indians celebrating together like old pals, minus all that inconvenient indigenous peoples genocide stuff. Like the fabricated Gulf of Tonkin incidents that propelled the US into deeper involvement in Vietnam. Right down to “I did not have sex with that woman, Monica Lewinsky”, and “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it.”

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America’s first father-son tag team presidents, John and John Quincy Adams; John Adams was the first president to occupy the White House, with asteroid Adams exactly squared asteroid Whitehouse in the Declaration chart

Let’s face it, the country was built on deception, and it’s only gotten more practiced over the centuries.   In fact, with Sun/Lie, it might be more accurate to say America is a lie we tell ourselves, rather than any practiced deception of others. Starting with our birthday.

 

But it ain’t all bad. How about “Truth, Justice and the American Way?” You all recall Superman’s tag line, right? Well, he stole it, right from the Declaration chart! That’s asteroid Veritas, Latin for “truth”, and asteroid Themis, named for the Greek goddess of justice, conjunct in the sky at 10 and 12 Scorpio, both stationary, both trined the American Sun. Veritas turned direct on July 1st, just three days before the signing, and Themis on June 29th; Truth and Justice are embedded still points in the American psyche, the lodestars of our national existence. To quote Lincoln once more, they are the “better angels of our nature” that call us, though we don’t always answer.

 

We have our challenges; what country doesn’t? Venus at 3 Cancer is exactly conjunct asteroid Karma – look at our treatment of women, the worship of the almighty dollar, the materialism of our society. Those are all Venusian concerns, and they all have a price, and Karma says that price must be paid. #MeToo.

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Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration; and he ought to be, with asteroid Jefferson opposed its Sun and squared Saturn

Jupiter at 5 Cancer, ruling politics, opposes TNO Eris at 8 Capricorn, named for the goddess of strife and discord. Is there discord in our political system? Maybe just a tad, like that whole Civil War thing. If you want a more recent example, look at the administrations of those “summer of ‘46” presidents – Clinton, Bush Jr, Trump. Born in June, July and August of 1946, they all have natal Eris at 6 Aries in square to the Declaration Eris, stirring the pot of resentment and bitterness among those who feel marginalized or disrespected. Modern polarization of the electorate began in earnest under Clinton, became exacerbated under Bush, and seems to have reached its crescendo under Trump.

 

But a lot of that is our fault, really. We ask too much of the mere mortals we choose to lead us. Like some post-modern Canute, we expect the tides of change to recede at their command. Technology, desist! Automation, retreat! Globalization, get outta here! Climate change, fugeddaboudit!

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Populist president Andrew Jackson, with asteroid Jackson conjunct Mercury

Why is that? Asteroid Whitehouse at 18 Virgo conjunct Panacea at 16 Virgo could be one reason. Whitehouse (fairly obviously) represents the Oval Office, a cypher for the president and the administration. Panacea is all about the quick fix, the magic cure to all your ills, the easy way out. We’re naturally primed to want this cure-all from our President, and we expect to get it, so when someone comes along with a promise to deliver, it feels like no more than our due. We’ve had plenty of snake oil salesmen at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but it’s what we asked for, when we signed that Declaration.

 

So let’s take a look at some of them, shall we? They’re all there, right from the get-go, in the Declaration chart.

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Abraham Lincoln, the Great Emancipator; asteroid Lincoln conjoins fractious, strife-ridden Eris, for this president who presided over the Civil War

Let’s start with Washington, you know, the kid who ‘fessed up to cutting down that cherry tree and had wooden false teeth (two more national falsehoods to stack up with that Sun/Lie conjunction). Asteroid Washingtonia serves for our first president, as well as the capital named for him. Opposing asteroid America, we see our highest zenith reached in him, the Full Moon of our ideals. Without Washington, there would be no America. He won the war for our freedom, he gave us our form of government, when he voluntarily walked away from power after two terms as president. Arguably, he could have been king, or at least a dictator; it was, after all, the only form of government out there at the time. America was the first modern democracy, and we may owe that as much to Washington’s lack of progeny (with no children of his own, he had no dynastic ambition) as to his unimpeachable ethics. And his sterling reputation for honesty? How about a conjunction with asteroid Truth at 6 Taurus, and an opposition to Veritas – “I cannot tell a lie”, indeed!

 

Next is John Adams. There are just two pairs of father-son presidents in US history – the Adamses, John and John Quincy, are found as asteroid Adams at 18 Sagittarius on the 12 Sagittarius Ascendant; and the Bushes, George and George W, are found as asteroid Busch at 13 Gemini on the Descendant. But Adams on the Ascendant is even more revealing of this Founding Father’s role, for he was our first Ambassador; that is, our public face to the world, which is precisely what the Ascendant indicates. Adams was our chief negotiator for the Treaty of Paris of 1783, which finally granted us our legal independence (hey, that’s another good choice for a birth chart!). His house in The Hague became in essence our first embassy. Adams followed up this role as our first ambassador to Britain in 1785, seeking to heal the breach and restore relations with our disrespected parent. Adams was the first president to live in the newly-built White House, so you won’t be surprised to find that asteroid Adams exactly squares asteroid Whitehouse at 18 Virgo. Many of the presidential asteroids aspect the Declaration’s Whitehouse, but Adams has the strongest link.

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Civil War era lushes, presidents Andrew Johnson and Ulysses S. Grant, with asteroids Johnson and Grant opposed alcohol-ruling Neptune

Jefferson is next. Man, where would we be without Jefferson and his prose? If anybody ought to show up in the Declaration chart, it’s the author, right? Never fear – he’s there! At 14 Capricorn, asteroid Jefferson opposes the 13 Cancer Sun and exactly squares its Saturn at 14 Libra. He’s at the heart (Sun) of the document; he established the framework (Saturn) for America going forward. Jefferson is also broadly opposed Jupiter at 5 Cancer, ruling expansion; Jefferson’s masterstroke of the Louisiana Purchase more than doubled the size of the country in a single act. And he’s also connected to Whitehouse, by trine.

 

After Jefferson we’re a bit hampered by a lack of suitable asteroid referents for presidents (but that’s OK, those guys were boring anyway), until we get to Andrew Jackson, seventh to serve. Jackson was the country’s first “out of the box” pick – a feisty, prickly, in-your-face rabble-rouser whose populism is reflected in asteroid Jackson’s conjunction with Mercury from 22 Cancer. Jackson was a sometime military man who made his name a household word with the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812, as witnessed by asteroid Jackson’s semisextile to the Declaration Mars at 21 Gemini. Jackson also aspects Whitehouse, by sextile.

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Conservation-minded Teddy Roosevelt, who established the National Park system; asteroid Theodora exactly conjoins the Moon

We’re going to skip over the next lot and cut right to the chase with Abraham Lincoln. Our 16th president, freer of the slaves, savior of the Union; surely no other American president has served in times more contentious than his, which witnessed the temporary dissolution of the country with the secession of the Confederate States. And we see that, with asteroid Lincoln at 2 Capricorn conjoined fractious Eris at 8. Disaffected and recriminatory, Eris pitted brother against brother in the bloodiest conflict the US has ever known. Lincoln also opposes Venus – he called upon the country to question its morals and values (Venus) in the slavery controversy, and understood that it would be the North’s economic superiority (also Venus) which would finally win the day in the fratricidal struggle. Lincoln is widely trine Whitehouse, and forms a Grand Trine with asteroid Truth at 6 Taurus, giving us “honest Abe” himself.

 

Let’s mix it up a bit from here on out. It’s not just serious things that can be found in the presidential asteroids of the Declaration chart. There’s a bit of whimsy, too. Take drinking, for example. Several of our commanders-in-chief were notorious for their consumption of alcohol: both Johnsons, and Ulysses S. Grant, among others. Andrew Johnson, Lincoln’s VP and successor, was so drunk at Lincoln’s second inaugural that he could barely stand up, and couldn’t perform his official duties. Lyndon Johnson was noted for his heavy drinking, and could often be found with Styrofoam cup in hand, containing scotch and soda (he preferred Cutty Sark). Ironically, Grant’s reputation for drunkenness is somewhat undeserved, and another of those Sun/Lie American myths, but true or false, that’s one of the things people remember about him. Both asteroid Johnson at 25 Pisces and asteroid Grant at 28 Pisces oppose the Declaration Neptune, ruling alcohol, at 22 Virgo. Grant is also squared Mars, reflecting his status as General in the Civil War, the source of his political power.   Johnson and Grant also oppose Whitehouse, Grant more widely, a full ten degrees in orb.

President Woodrow Wilson

Internationalist Woodrow Wilson was an architect of the League of Nations, though he couldn’t persuade the US to join it; asteroid Wilson is sextile Jupiter, ruling foreign policy and diplomacy

Woodrow Wilson was the great internationalist, one of the principal architects of the League of Nations, the first multinational organization to promote word peace (though he couldn’t get his country to join it). Asteroid Wilson at 0 Taurus is sextile to the Declaration Jupiter at 5 Cancer, ruling diplomacy, foreign policy, and peace.

 

Unfortunately, there is no asteroid to represent the surname of two of our greatest presidents, distant cousins the Roosevelts, one Republican, one Democrat. But Theodore, better known as Teddy, is represented by asteroid Theodora, a feminine variation, while FDR, Franklin, is seen in asteroid Franklina, another feminine version. Theodora at 27 Aquarius is an exact match for the Declaration Moon, significant for a president who was so environmentally conscious. He reveled in the natural world, understood the importance of conservation, and established America’s first national park system, reflective also of that exact trine to asteroid America, seeking to preserve its native beauty.

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FDR, with asteroid Franklina sesquiquadrate Vesta; he delivered 31 “Fireside Chats” to the nation

Franlkina’s placement brings us to another aspect of the chart in general. The US’ consistent pattern of regular elections, every four years, was an anomaly in its time. Even to this day, the British system, which we modeled ourselves upon, doesn’t utilize regularly scheduled elections, but rather calls the vote whenever a sitting government has lost the confidence of the representatives. The Declaration MC, its Tenth House cusp, ruling governmental structures, is exactly conjoined by asteroid Sisyphus at 1 Libra. Sisyphus is named for that Hadean worthy doomed to forever roll a rock uphill, only to have it roll back down again, thus necessitating the eternal duplication of the effort. It represents endless repetition and recurrent events, just like that four year electoral cycle (and conveying that same sense of futile effort to many who interact with its bureaucracy). And asteroid Franklin Roosevelt, with asteroid Franklina at 5 Libra conjoined Sisyphus/MC, participated in that cycle more than another president, winning election four consecutive times! Another point to note with Franklina is its sesquiquadrate to asteroid Vesta at 19 Taurus, named for the Roman goddess of fire and the hearth. “Fireside chats” ring a bell?

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JFK, with asteroid Kennedy trined Uranus, started the US space program; its conjunction with Martir and Pluto, ruling assassination, speaks for itself

Truman and Eisenhower have no celestial referents, which brings us to Kennedy. Though president for less than three years, JFK left an enduring legacy of hope that still inspires progressive politics. At 1 Aquarius, asteroid Kennedy is trine Uranus at 8 Gemini, ruling progressivism, as well as the space program he inaugurated. Kennedy is sesquiquadrate Whitehouse, and also conjoins asteroid Martir at 23 Capricorn, phonetic match for “martyr”, and Pluto at 27 Capricorn, which rules murder and assassinations. Enough said.

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LBJ’s heavy drinking is indicated by asteroid Johnson opposed Neptune; but which came first, the alcoholism or the Oval Office?

We’ve already touched on LBJ, so Nixon is next. Like the Roosevelts, Tricky Dick has no surname in the stars, but there is a Richard asteroid. At 28 Cancer, Richard opposes Pluto, which also rules crime – remember “I am not a crook!”? The cloak-and-dagger machinations of the Watergate crew and the White House Plumbers fit this energy also, as do the secret Oval Office audiotapes. Asteroid Richard doesn’t aspect Whitehouse, and Nixon is the only US President to resign his office.

 

When Nixon resigned in disgrace in August 1974, he turned over the keys to his second VP, Gerald Ford, who holds the distinction of being the only American president who was never elected to national office. Appointed to replace the similarly disgraced Spiro Agnew after the Nixon re-elect, Ford went on to defeat by Carter after finishing Nixon’s second term. Asteroid Ford at 2 Gemini conjoins Uranus at 8, representing the “outsider”, the anomaly who doesn’t fit the rest of the pattern (Ford’s lack of electoral validation; tellingly, asteroid Ford doesn’t aspect Whitehouse). And Ford, who was actually a college athlete of some standing, somehow managed to garner a reputation for clumsiness and being accident prone (due in large part to the portrayal of him by Saturday Night Live‘s Chevy Chase, who looked nothing like him), both Uranian characteristics.

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President Richard “I am not a crook!” Nixon, with asteroid Richard opposing crime-ruling Pluto; and President Ford, with a reputation for clumsiness – asteroid Ford conjoins accident-prone Uranus

Jimmy Carter was arguably our most religiously-minded president. An avowed “born again” Christian, Carter famously wrestled with “lustful thoughts”, stating in a 1976 Playboy interview that he had “looked on a lot of women with lust” and had “committed adultery in my heart many times.” Asteroid Carter at 26 Sagittarius is trined to asteroid Christian at 2 Taurus, and widely squared asteroid Lust at 5 Aries. Carter was seen as ineffectual and vacillating, Neptunian hallmarks (as is religious faith), with asteroid Carter also squared the Declaration Neptune at 22 Virgo. And Carter broadly squares Whitehouse.

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Evangelical President Jimmy Carter, taking time off to daydream lustful thoughts in the Oval Office, with asteroid Carter trine asteroid Christian and squared asteroid Lust

Mercifully, there is absolutely nothing to be said about Ronald Reagan, who has no celestial referents whatsoever. I’m sure astrology-minded wife Nancy would be distressed at this.

 

We’ve mentioned the Bushes already, in connection with those father-son presidential tag teams, but here’s another point to ponder – asteroid Busch at 13 Gemini is conjoined Uranus, squared Whitehouse and broadly conjunct Mars, ruling military matters. It’s interesting that the father was an acknowledged hero pilot in World War II, while the son just as famously avoided service in Vietnam, and both were involved with flight, Uranus-ruled (Dubya used the Texas National Air Guard as a means of keeping out of combat). And though it’s true that both Bushes prosecuted conflicts in the Middle East, they are hardly unique in being wartime presidents. However, asteroid Busch also conjoins asteroid Mesopotamia at 5 Gemini, the ancient name for the region now known as Iraq, where both men’s military efforts were focused.

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America’s second father-son tag team presidents, George and Dubya Bush; both were pilots, with asteroid Busch conjunct Uranus, and both prosecuted wars in the Middle East, with Busch also conjunct Mars and asteroid Mesopotamia

There’s no really satisfying asteroid for Bill Clinton’s presidency either. There is a William asteroid, Bill’s actual first name, but that moniker is shared by three other presidents (Harrison, McKinley and Taft). At 19 Pisces, William is opposed Whitehouse, connected to the Oval Office like so many presidential asteroids, but its most notable aspect vis-à-vis the Clinton legacy is its exact square to asteroid Monica at 19 Gemini.   And by the way, asteroid Wiener conjoins William from 20 Pisces, while asteroid Pecker is exactly on the William/Monica midpoint at 4 Taurus, semisquare to each. Oops!

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President Bill Clinton with White House aide and sexual plaything Monica Lewinsky; asteroid William exactly squares asteroid Monica, with asteroid Pecker on their midpoint

There is nothing for Barack Hussein Obama either, which leaves us with Donald J. Trump.

 

At 2 Aquarius, asteroid Troemper, our tried and true celestial referent for The Donald, is next to asteroid Hybris at 3 Aquarius. Hybris is named for the Greek goddess of prideful arrogance, and is the root of our word “hubris”, meaning “excessive pride and ambition that leads to a downfall.” OK, yeah that fits!

 

Trump’s often parlous relationship with the truth is seen in the T-Square from Troemper to Truth and Veritas; basically, he’s constantly in conflict (square) with reality and the facts. Unlike Washington and Lincoln, whose presidential PNAs have positive relationships with Truth, Trump’s asteroid is always at odds with it.

 

Like Kennedy, Troemper is sesquiquadrate Whitehouse and trines Uranus, which reflects Trump’s independent streak, his nonconformist, iconoclastic, erratic style and image, of a revolutionary reformer to some, a dangerous incendiary to others. Like Ford, with his PNA conjunct Uranus, Trump is an outsider, an anomaly, the only American president to have no governmental or military experience whatsoever prior to his term of office.

 

Troemper is also conjunct the Declaration Pluto, which rules scandal, corruption and total transformation, not to say destruction and devastation. And Troemper ties to that Pluto/Mercury opposition, with Mercury sextile to Neptune, indicating falsehoods or willful, deliberate deception.

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Donald J. Trump, caught in the act of forming the words, “fake news” (or is that another “f-word”?)

And “Fake News”? That’s Neptune (Fake)/Mercury (News), too. Originally coined to describe Russian attempts to manipulate social media with false stories in the 2016 election, the term has been co-opted by Trump in his war on the Media, who charges “fake news!” whenever he doesn’t like the facts reported. With Neptune conjoined by asteroid Moskva, Russian for “Moscow”, at 25 Virgo, and TNO Chaos, signaling disruption and anarchy, at 23 Virgo, we can see that, from the earliest days of the Republic, the potential was there for surreptitious (Neptune) Russian interference creating havoc (Chaos) in the vote (also Mercury), something further borne out by asteroid Russia’s exact conjunction with the Declaration’s Jupiter, ruling politics, at 5 Cancer.

 

So you see, it’s all there, written in the stars, even from conception. So Happy Birthday, America, whenever it may truly be. As long as this is what we celebrate, this is what we get.

 

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Alex Miller

Alex Miller is a professional writer and astrologer, author of The Black Hole Book, detailing deep space points in astrological interpretation, and the forthcoming Heaven on Earth, a comprehensive study of asteroids, both mythic and personal, due in 2018. Alex is a frequent contributor to “The Mountain Astrologer”, “Daykeeper Journal”, and NCGR’s Journals and “Enews Commentary”; his work has also appeared in “Aspects” magazine, “Dell Horoscope”, “Planetwaves”, “Neptune Café” and “Sasstrology.” He is a past president of Philadelphia Astrological Society, and currently a board member for the Philadelphia Chapter of NCGR.

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