by Boots Hart, CAP

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

CHART USA (Pt. One): A National Divorce

The Signing of the Declaration of Independence by John Turnbull

I want to go on 'instant record' here saying I’m not a historian. Frankly, I kept my high school US History textbook for years simply because it was the one thing knew I could just look at with the guarantee I would be asleep very, very soon.

Five minutes, max: no drugs required. 

Yet after listening to umpteen astrological debates I began to puzzle. No one seems to know what the chart of the United States really is. There are several charts for July 4, 1776 - that famous date of declaring independence. But should the chart be cast for the moment when people began signing? Or when the last quill hit parchment on that date, leaving its inky scrawl?

And maybe you're not aware that all those signatures at the bottom of the document didn't sign that day.

Fed Ex being a century yet to come, it took months to get everybody signed on.
Then there are those who like the idea of a US which became a nation while bewigged forefathers were dunking crumpets into tea while chatting over  Continental Congress doings. That was an even less official occasion, so good luck with that chart.

Into all this comes Robert Hand, esteemed astrologer, good guy and fine scholar.

Being his usual pithy self, Rob pointed out (during a lecture to a packed auditorium) that every one of the 1776 charts has Mercury retrograde and/or a Void of Course Moon - which would describe the US as a hesitant, even shy nation which never gets anything done.

Shy? Hesitant? Does this sound like the US you know? Okay, so we don't always like what the US does. But we gotta go with the concept that the modern US we know and sometimes cheer and sometimes groan about is generally neither subtle nor shy about things. There are even days when we think it might be better if it was.

As for Rob, he had similar objections to all the other charts as yet proposed, too.

Still, when one looks at the premises under which the U.S. was originally founded, the 1776 ‘we’re gonna sign this here-now document’ let's-begin-to-sign-this-thing chart is pretty darn good. It's elitist Aquarian Moon and a self-editing Mercury retrograde really fit the time and day.

How's that, you ask? Well maybe you don't know but back then the United States-ians were really grand about talking freedom, but not so good on delivering it. Considering that slavery was allowed, obviously not everybody actually got to be free. And then there were those rules which said only some could own land. And only some being allowed to vote.

It was plainly not the nation of today.

So what happened? To answer this fine question we should start by considering what a US national chart is really about. The United States is not a single entity: it’s a unity of individual states - a marriage of separate entities.

And when we consider the United States in that light,  the whole thing slowly begins making sense.

Look at it like this...try thinking of the US as a (poly-state) marriage. A marriage chart is calculated for the time and place when a ceremony ‘fixes’ the bond and two people ‘become one’...even though plainly they still remain two separate people.

So if we look at the US this way, its bond is all about a  ‘federal marriage’ or national fusion – a joint acceptance of risks and possible rewards being taken on by each and every state (allegedly for better and for worse, in sickness and in health, etc. etc.).

That being mutually invested this is a very Scorpio idea. In light of that, it makes sense that a lot of astrologers favor US charts with Scorpio Suns or Scorpio risings.

But if the US as a national structure is akin to a marriage, that means we have to also consider the 'traditional' marriage exit door - meaning divorce. How does that work?

When a marriage fails, the date of the final divorce decree indicates when the two partners become free to marry other people. But the reality of the marriage (the emotional commitment to the union) is over long before any judge's gavel hits decree. As anyone who's been through (or around) the process knows, the marriage as it was is over when the parties first file for the divorce.

Even if they overcome their differences, the innocence and purity of intent which gelled in that original bond...that's gone. Indeed, if things have gone far enough that the court has become involved, the marriage is re-established not when they kiss and make up (or whatever they do) but when on that date when the court approves dissolution of the suit.

Astrologically, this means a new “marriage chart” is required once any original pledge is quit (i.e., broken). Yes, the original vows become a romanticized ‘shadow’ chart the partners always remember (that being here perhaps that Aquarian Moon/Mercury retrograde 1776 chart)…but the reality of the marriage lived from that time forward is built on a new agreement.

And hopefully wiser people, yes.

So how would this apply to the United States? There seems little debate about whether the country started out as that Mercury retrograde and Aquarian Void of Course Moon kind of place. That's all over the history books.

But then came the Civil War: divorce American national style. And a bloody divorce it was too.

Civil War uniforms, flags and weapons Union and Confederate.

Now there are some who will argue that it wasn’t really until the passing of the Civil Rights Act (some hundred years after the Civil War) that the US really became the nation (or even began becoming the nation) it claimed to be in its original Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Yet astrologically, that just doesn’t work.

Why not?

Because said Civil Rights Act was not part of creating a nation. It thus therefore cannot generate a new national chart. It's a 'working inside the given’ sort of document, which astrologically means it should coincide with a transit to any valid US chart. The Civil Rights Act was a big deal so the transit should be a major transit. But it isn't the sort of motion which creates a new chart.

No, the United States only broke apart once - with the beginning of the Civil War, a national divorce action if there ever was one. The South filed and moved out. And to be sure, the North contested said divorce. But the moment that the Confederacy declared itself and established its capital, leader and constitution, the 1776 ‘marriage’ – for all astrological purposes it was over.

And no, there is no divorce court for nations. It might be better if there was, but there isn't.

Following the 'it was over' logic, the union we now call the United States would have been be ‘born’ when war ended and the nation was officially remade into one - the ‘remarriage,’ if you will.

And when was that? That chart would be timed by General Robert E. Lee approving the document of surrender at war’s end, an event which took place in a private home borrowed from a gentleman named McLean in a little Virginia spot known as Appomattox Court House.

McLean Residence in Appomattox Court House

Records show the meeting between Lee and Grant began at 1:30 p.m. on April 9, 1865. But Lee didn’t finalize his (the South’s) side of the peace treaty until ‘just before 4 p.m.’ - the delay being due to rewording Lee required before signing on.

According to reports by persons in the room, after surveying the document one last time, Lee approved, accepted the stated terms then stood up to have a short conversation with Grant. After that he left, with the time of his departure being noted as 4 p.m. In light of these reports (with additional checking of events against both resulting chart axis) the reasonable rectification therefore puts the time of signing at 3:53 in the afternoon.

Actually the Treaty was not actually signed at this moment, due to (of all things!) a lack of ink and paper to recopy General Lee’s requested changes. And this for some may recall President Obama taking his Oath of Office twice. The answer to 'which is right?' here lies in the moment of commitment: when when we actually commit to something is the moment for which the chart should be erected reflecting that event. The Obama Administration thus began when the President took the  Oath of Office the first time - just as the Civil War ended when General Lee accepted Grant's terms for peace.

And never mind the that moment the South laid down arms. In that moment, soldiers on both sides rushed to embrace each other as country and kinsmen once again. In that moment the North’s supply corps began moving in to feed an estimated 25,000 hungry Confederate troops. That's the end of a war.

But if we need more validation, we have that too - in the form of a governmental nod from President Lincoln. Upon returning from Richmond to news of Lee's  surrendered, Lincoln walked out onto the White House balcony and with fireworks exploding overhead, made a short speech acknowledging that as the South surrendered at Appomattox, war had ended and the nation had again become one.

That unity bond in federal marriage is reflected in the chart below, horoscope erected for 3:53 on that fateful afternoon in Appomattox Court House, Virginia.

Chart USA(ppomattox) - End of Civil War 

It's an interesting chart, this Chart USA(ppomattox). And yes, the events of a nation in years since are seen reflected by transits to its various points.

Starting tomorrow we'll start walking through just what this chart says. But in the meantime, to Robert Hand: 'look Rob - no VOC Moon and no Mercury retrograde!'  

See you all tomorrow back here at astroPPM.


  1. A very interesting analysis. It's fun to see how you carefully dissect all the evidence. Maybe you have founded a new subject: histrology?

  2. That actually sounds rather medical, but let's talk...!

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