IN HONOR of an issue on July 4, I thought I would take a look at the chart for the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Independence Day is considered by most people to be the birthday of our country — the moment when the 13 colonies joined together against the King of England and declared themselves free and independent states.
Have you ever read the thing? It’s short, it’s very sweet and it sets an example for the world. The Declaration is the document from our history that sets the goal of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” for our nation. It states in part, “When a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government and to provide new guards for their future security.”
Gee whiz. We need this thing today. Has it expired? It continues, “Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.”
The Framers then provide the candid world with 27 paragraphs outlining the long train of abuses and acts of tyranny, at the end of which the colonies declared that “they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; and that, as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do.”
The document concludes: “And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.”
Consider this: here we had the richest and most powerful men in the country pledging to one another their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. Can you imagine Donald Trump, Bill Gates and Dick Cheney, saying this kind of thing, much less even meaning it? Not beating their chests singing “God bless America” out of tune, but rather, humbly stating that we trust Divine Providence?
The July 4 chart reflects this idealism, and casts us in the role of a visionary nation (Sagittarius rising, with Jupiter in Cancer — we are envisioning a home). We are a culture based on reason, knowledge and science (Aquarius Moon conjunct Pallas Athene); on the sharing of resources (Venus conjunct Jupiter in Cancer in the 8th house); and a place that cares deeply about its people, and acts on it (Cancer Sun). If we were born on July 4, we are a nation of laws and not men above the law, or men who think they are the law. We recognize equality and the parallel, responsibility. We are a country that protects its people, is fair to them, and that recognizes our common interests with others in the world community. Think of it: Sagittarius, Aquarius, and Cancer work quite well together in one chart.
The chart has 12+ Sagittarius rising — two degrees from the Great Attractor (which was, at the time, at 10+ Sagittarius). If nothing else, the Great Attractor’s presence talks about an event that will have implications far beyond what the participants themselves understand. If you are an astrology student, I suggest you familiarize yourself with this point which, in our era, is at 14+ Sagittarius. It is the largest known object in the universe, and it is being pursued by a million galaxies (including our own). But it exists along the plane of the Milky Way, so dust and debris interfere with our ability to perceive it accurately.
If we were born on July 4, the United States of America is not the nation of Watergate, of Abu Ghraib, of genocide in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, or of so many wars for oil. It is not the chart of a government that, under the leadership of Nixon and Kissinger, overthrew Chilean President Salvador Allende on Sept. 11, 1973, killing thousands of cultural heroes; nor are we the country that signed off on providing South American oil for Hitler. July 4, 1776 is not the birthday of the country that bombed both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is not the chart of the last Western nation to use a peacetime death penalty (a distinction we share with Iran, China and Saudi Arabia).
The July 4 chart is, rather, the nativity of the country we think we are, when we think at all; the one we feel good about being: of amber waves of grain from sea to shining sea. It is the United States of our dreams.
The Sibly Chart and Sept. 11
There are several USA charts. It is not known exactly when the Declaration of Independence was signed, though it’s likely to have gone on for a few days. It took a while for all those guys to come up and sign the thing one by one, and political meetings always take longer than you think.
One July 4 chart that seems workable (and which is demonstrated to be accurate by recent history) is the first one ever calculated, called the Sibly chart, and that is the one that gives Sagittarius rising.
It’s an 18th century document based on statements attributed to Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and John Q. Adams, who said they signed the Declaration in the “late afternoon” of the 4th in Jefferson’s case, and “late in the day,” according to the Adams’. The Sibly chart is one of about a half-dozen speculated times given, and birth time is pretty important in astrology.
The “late in the day” time, more or less, is confirmed by other sources — such as the marginalia in the Raphael’s Ephemeris of an astrologer contemporary to the Revolution, someone named John B. Early. Its data are July 4, 1776, Philadelphia, 5:10 p.m. LMT (Local Mean Time), and it’s the chart most often used. I am not sure how it got the name “Sibly chart.”
Due to the variance in possibilities for when the Declaration was signed I considered this chart iffy until the Sept. 11 incident. This event was associated with the alignment of Saturn and Pluto across Gemini and Sagittarius. That opposition, exact for the first time on Aug. 5, 2001, went directly across the axis at 12+ Gemini and 12+ Sagittarius. In other words, it intersected the ascendant/descendant of the Sibly chart to less than one degree of exactitude; and then we had this terrible thing happen, which changed the course of history forever.
This transit includes Pluto crossing the ascendant of the Sibly chart. Pluto in the ascendant is one of those transits that redefines one’s identity; it changes the nature of one’s relationship to existence. Indeed, at the time of Sept. 11 we became identified with Plutonic forces of death and destruction, both as victim and perpetrator. We allowed the righteous fundamentalism of Pluto in Sagittarius to literally seize our identity, reinvigorating the long battle between Muslims and Christians. We allowed other people to lure us, once again, into believing lies that would not even fool a dog. As James Madison warned, “enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm.” And as P.T. Barnum warned, “there is a sucker born every minute.”
On one level, the Saturn-Pluto opposition seems to have derailed us as a country; but really, it exposed who we have been as a nation through much of the 20th century. We might want to ask ourselves: is this the side of Sagittarius we want to express — the one that thinks it can define right and wrong for itself? Are we happy remembering remnants of the American Dream, paid for exclusively on credit?
The Dark Side of the Dream
If there is a dark side to this chart, it involves Mars in Gemini. Mars has a special role, because it represents the 12th house (which has Scorpio on the cusp). So Mars is the ambassador of the 12th house — which is the most paranoid and delusional of the lot; the house of secret enemies; the house of not quite knowing what is real and what is not.
Mars is in the 7th house, which is the zone of projection. Mars, particularly in Gemini, is aggressive.
See if you can follow the moves. Mars emerges from the 12th house and Scorpio, that deep, unconscious place, and materializes face to face with us in the 7th house in Gemini. It’s as if everyone we look at is potentially our enemy. But the whole arrangement is in Gemini, suggesting that our friends are our enemies and vice versa. This would cover two men who were well-established CIA assets, Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.
Perhaps it’s every country, but it seems that the United States is always gazing into the eyes of a supposed bogeyman who wants to hurt us because he doesn’t like our way of life. We would be wise to consider the psychological projection involved in having Mars being the effigy of this evil critter, be it kidnappers, Communism, queers, heathens, al Qaeda or our neighbors.
James Madison, author of the U.S. Constitution, was cautious about scenarios where we give up a little freedom to have a little safety, something we seem to do on a regular basis. “It is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to the provisions against danger, real or pretended, from abroad,” he wrote in his commentaries on the founding of the U.S. republic.
It would be nice if we could define ourselves some other way than by whom we despise. Because at the end of the day, if that is how we choose to live, then we must ultimately despise ourselves.
Yours & truly,