Athena's Web Weekly Column

Week of Apr 20th, - Apr 26th, 2007

Celestial Mechanics:
Made in the USA

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USA secondary progressions, 1880

USA Secondary Progressions, 1880

  One of the joys of watching astrology at work is the understanding it provides for the world around us. Much like marionettes on a string, we are shaped by celestial forces and respond to their call. This does not mean that we do not have a say in the outcome: we do; but the celestial forces frame the circumstances within which decisions must be made.

  For example, let's look at one of the patterns within the US natal horoscope. Born on the 4th of July, 1776, we are a Cancerian nation, with Venus, Jupiter, the Sun and Mercury all in Cancer. Land, real estate, our homes, family, the food that we produce for the world (not to mention ourselves) are all products of this Cancerian theme.

  In 1776 Saturn was in Libra squaring the US Sun in Cancer. Libra is the sign of law, balance, fair play and equality. Since Cancer squares Libra, there's an inherent conflict between these two energies at their core. Libra chooses what's fair and does things from a rational perspective (AIR), while Cancer does for family members from an emotional (WATER) level. As Jupiter in Cancer built into a progressed square to the US Saturn in Libra, the clash between these two archetypes played itself out in history.

  In the diagram above, the inner wheel is part of the natal US chart, while the outer wheel are the secondary progressions for 1880, as these alignments were moving into their exact aspects. They are hitting the same degrees, all over the US Mercury at 24 degrees and 12 minutes of Cancer, retrograde. Notice that each of the porgressed planets (Jupiter, Sun and Saturn) are about to 'climb' to 24-12. So what was happening at this time in US history?

President James Garfield

President James Garfield

  In the 19th century, government jobs were delegated by the president. This was known as the 'patronage' or 'spoils' system. Jobs were used to help support political parties. After the graft and corruption of the two term Grant administration, Rutherford Hayes started civil service reform. His first step was to issue an executive order forbidding federal servants from taking an active part in politics. At the end of his term of office, Grant tried to win back the presidency in an unprecedented third term (having been out of office for four years), and hoped to reverse the flow of civil service legislation. This set the stage for the 1880 presidential election, which took place as progressed Jupiter conjuncted Mercury. It manifested as the Republican National Nominating Convention. Mercury deals with communication and discussion. Jupiter deals with what is big, large or long. As Jupiter conjuncted the US Mercury we had the longest running Republican National Convention in history, extending through 36 ballots.

  Jupiter in Cancer dispenses benevolence to preferred favorites. Saturn in Libra is a strict legal discipline (exams) among equals. In the extended political deadlock between Grant (patronage, Cancer) and Blain (Civil Service, Libra), dark horse candidate James Garfield suddenly and surprisingly sweeps the nomination. Because his name was thrown into the ring (Garfield did not advance his own nomination, and in fact, did everything to discourage it), Garfield was not prepared for a national election and had not set up the political connections one needs for such an undertaking. Having received the nomination, Garfield then had to turn to the New York Republican based patronage system to secure his election. As part of the deal Chester A. Arthur (patronage hierarchy) is picked as the Vice Presidential candidate for political advantage to help win over the Democratic rival.

  Following the win, Pres. Garfield and Vice Pres. Arthur have a falling out, Garfield is later fatally shot, but manages to hang on for eighty days. Many people believe that Arthur and the patronage system cronies are behind the shooting. Arthur is cautious and goes into seclusion, refusing to make public appearances, knowing people think he is linked to the assassination. For two months and 18 days, the country is leaderless, waiting for the president to die so the VP can take over. Following Garfield's death and Arthur's succession, Arthur himself institutes legislation which later becomes the Pendelton Civil Service Reform Act of 1883.

Chester A. Arthur cabinet

Chester A. Arthur confronting the Garfield cabinet after the shooting

  Celestially the crisis comes to a head during the eighty days Garfield is still hanging on, progressed Jupiter squared the US Saturn on August 11th, 1881. This is probably the most powerful of all the alignments which were taking place during this period. Shot on July 2, President Garfield finally died on September 19th, 1881.

  The emotional tide had turned. Arthur, who may, or may not have known of the plot, takes it upon himself to see civil service reform through and becomes known as 'The Father of Civil Service,' turning his back on his old patronage system cronies. As with most alignments in astrology, the power of these influences crescendos AS the aspect become exact, but it BUILDS to that point. Once it is exact, the forces often shift, and realign themselves.

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The US Flag

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