by Boots Hart, CAP

Friday, September 20, 2013

In our Facies: Upton Sinclair

Upton Sinclair in 1906
(photo originally published by the New York World Telegram
and Sun Newspaper Photo - courtesy of the Library of Congress collection)

If you don’t know who Upton Sinclair is, I’m not sure if I’m sorry…or if I think you’re lucky. I met up with his name in middle school, and have been flinching ever since.

The man Upton Sinclair was born on February 20, 1878 – which makes his birthday the same day as that when Pluto will go station/direct here in 2013.

Here’s his chart:

Upton Sinclair
born September 20 1878 - 9:00 a.m. (+5-06-27) - Baltimore MD
With the South Node in Leo, this would be an opinionated man. In fact, with that South Node conjunct the Midheaven in Leo, and with Leo’s rulership by the Sun pointing us to a Sun conjunct Mars in the 11th house, having his say in a big way was Upton’s forte.

Which indeed it was. Author, political activist and general rabble rouser of his time, Upton Sinclair had a way of getting under people’s skin. He was roundly hated by many (including a couple of Presidents of the United States) for his inability to stay quiet whenever he found something going on he thought was terribly wrong.

And seeing how back in Upton’s day, Facies was at 6 Capricorn – that puts Facies, a snarky little nebula if there ever was one – conjunct his 3rd house cusp.

Upton Sinclair - natal chart detail
And since the 3rd house is always the house of mentality and communication, and since Facies is known to torment us as much as we torment others because we feel so tormented, we can bet that Upton Sinclair felt tormented by what he saw going on in his world – and hence why he tormented others.

A friend of mine refers to this as ‘sharing’…which only goes to show that sharing is not always about sharing the good stuff. When we feel tormented or upset or hurt or maltreated, we share our displeasure. We share our anger. We share our negativity.

In the metaphysical sense, we’re stirring the pot. At the very least we’re trying to let someone else know that their right to swing their arms ends about the time they punch us in the nose (or some other place which is equally if not more painful).

Sinclair was a man who wanted to get things done. Sun conjunct Mars in the 3rd ten degrees of Virgo said he saw things being (Virgo) done wrong and the placement in the 11th house says this was on a societal level.

The opposition to Saturn at 29 Pisces just helped things along. Yes, he felt it ‘critical’ to do something about it. Any time we see anything at 29 degrees of any sign there’s an emphasis, a focus, a ‘need’ to attend to whatever that symbolism speaks to. In Upton’s case, there were three modifiers – besides the opposition, I mean. His Saturn (an indication of career and business) was conjunct Agamemnon, indicating a stubborn tenacity…conjunct fixed star Scheat, a quotient which is always all about what we or others don’t want to look at or accept as the truth…and our not-so-good, good friend Sedna, the emblem of ‘take your blinders off, and stop thinking in those rose petal terms. If you keep on like you’re doing, in the end the person you’re going to hurt worse is going to be yourself or someone you love.

There are lots of other things we could say about Upton Sinclair as a man who wanted to get the word out. Certainly his Moon at 7 Cancer in the 9th house was all about how society functions and letting his feelings be known. Conjunct Vesta, he was all about the cost of what we do…and what we don’t do.

Chiron at 7 Taurus sitting atop the Descendant and conjunct Neptune and Ceres would basically describe Upton Sinclair as someone who didn’t have any ‘plan’ about how he was going to take others on, he just knew when he had to say something…and when we flip this around, he was pretty much saying ‘you may not have thought about having a plan about dealing with what’s wrong about what’s going on, but you probably should get one.’

Like I say, he was a real sharing kind of guy.

So why did knowing who Upton Sinclair queeze me out back when I was in middle school? That’s because my class was required to read one of his many (many) books – a rather notorious book called “The Jungle.”

"The Jungle" - 1st edition cover
I thought it a pretty horrifying book. Why? Well, “The Jungle” is all about big business of its day and is focused on the meat slaughtering business. And maybe it’s because I read this book as an early-mid teen, or maybe it’s because I went through a deal of violence as a child…but were author Jack London (“Call of the Wild,” “Valley of the Moon,” “White Fang,” etc.) thought “The Jungle” was about the corruption of people in power sort of on that ‘absolute power corrupts absolutely’ sort of level and the evils of what he referred to as ‘wage slavery,’ I thought of “The Jungle” as a litany of mankind’s inhumanity not just to man, but to the creatures of this earth.

To me, “The Jungle” was all about just how callous and uncaring we can be as people. It was about how easy it is to wrap ourselves in the righteous garb of institutional processes and ‘that’s just the way we do it’ without regard to the fact that real lives – and life – is at stake.

“The Jungle” was released on February 26, 1906. Here’s the chart:

Publication chart for "The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair
Release date: February 26, 1906 

28 degrees of Gemini rising puts Betelgeuse (then at 27 Gemini) right behind the Ascendant. The book is thus all about that Betelgeuse thing of doing what comes easily.

And plainly, writing about societal ills came pretty easily to Sinclair. I’ve recently begun studying asteroid Lucifer, and after a first round of examination, the point seems not to be about “Satan” per se, but how ‘bedeviled’ we can be, or how ‘devilish’ we can be with regards to others…and in a greater sense how ‘the devil is in the details.’

With Upton Sinclair, the devil was plainly in the details and with his Lucifer conjunct Betelgeuse in his ‘let’s discuss this’ Gemini 8th house of power and how we negotiate, clearly Upton Sinclair saw his ability to write a way to force people’s hands.

Which he did. When “The Jungle” came out, many – including President Roosevelt – called Sinclair a crackpot. But after reading it, Roosevelt moderated his stance, saying that the book had a lot of valid points.

Apparently so. After publication of “The Jungle” a lot of ‘sanitizing efforts’ went towards the meat packing business from top to bottom. Corruption in the business also got taken on – and spread to other businesses.

Looking at the book publication chart, it’s Midheaven (it’s “public point,” if you will) is at 4 Pisces – which at the time was the position of Hidalgo (protocols or the manner in which something is done) and Eurydike – the emblem of understanding the cost. With the Sun plus dispassionate Pallas united at 7 Pisces it’s not surprising that “The Jungle” would be something which dispassionately…some might say even coolly…discussed something so vital, so venial, so…whether you’re talking about how people or animals were treated…so very emotionally disturbing.

Today Fomalhaut, the royal fixed star which warns us that success comes only when our ‘dreams’ (aims) are not corrupted – whether by means dark or rose colored – Fomalhaut is sitting at 4 Pisces. 

And Neptune is conjuncting it.

A lot of us are dealing with dreams which are coming to nothing and our desire to ignore or not feel feelings which are difficult to manage.
But we need to.

Meanwhile, Pluto is going direct as this post hits the blog, and it’s doing so at 8 Capricorn, conjunct the Uranus end of the book’s Uranus-Neptune and conjunct Sinclair’s 3rd house cusp, setting off his Facies/Moon opposition.

We are all of us facing various forms of wanting to ignore and wanting to simply ‘go along to get along’ and feeling like victims while ‘sharing’ our hurts. Escapism is bigger than ever and so is the wholesale abuse of power. “Wage slavery” as Jack London termed it, is back in vogue and again crushing the life out of countless lives, thus undermining the riches of all for the purpose of a few who think their domination can last.

Life simply doesn’t work that way. When that which ‘nourishes’ us – be it food or income or the ‘milk of human kindness’ is tainted, so our world becomes tainted too.

That was Upton Sinclair’s ultimate message in much of what he wrote.

Metaphysically, the timing of his birthday would seem to suggest we need to ‘clean up our act.’ We need to care less about the end product and more about the process. The idea of Pluto going station-direct atop Facies is shown ably by this combination of charts. But in our lives…in our individual lives, it has more to do with where early Capricorn is in your natal chart by house – and whether anything is pictured there. It has to do with where your Pluto is located natally, and the distance from there to early Capricorn.


For those born under Pluto in Cancer (roughly 1914 – 1938), this is an opposition. It’s time to let go of the old and face what is yet left to do. Take it easy…fighting won’t help and by now you have the wisdom to know better.

For Baby Boomers born under Pluto in Leo (roughly 1939 – 1958), this is an inconjunct. It’s time to do what you need to do in order to become the person you know you should be…not the person its necessarily easy to be. Try to share judiciously, but don’t shut up. Where wrong is wrong, you need to make it right, whether that’s in your own life or in the greater world around you.

For Yuppies born under Pluto in Virgo (roughly 1958 – 1972) this station activates trine energy. Quality, not quantity is the byword. The focus should not be on what you can’t have, but what you can be. Look within.

For Gen X’ers born under Pluto in Libra (roughly 1972 – 1983), this energetic is a square. To see life as ‘us and them’ is to undermine your own interests. Being the bigger better version of yourself – the person you would be in awe of if you met you – requires big-time effort but is worth it.

For the Gen Y / Pluto in Scorpio generation (roughly 1983 – 1995) this energetic is a sextile. You have the opportunity now to see the flaws in your thinking. Change those and you will free yourself of much grief down the line. You’re likely to feel ‘no, this way is the right way’ and where that’s integrative, fine. But where it’s about power and personal gain…not so much.

For the Millennials – the Pluto in Sagittarius tribe (roughly 1995 through early 2008) you’re in for some trying times as this station represents the sort of semi-sextile energetic which gets you to see a really useful (and bigger) perspective by delivering a series of hard knocks. Don’t be offended, consider what you have to gain by expanding your vision and you’ll be fine. Well…more or less fine, and yes, it will take a while. But you can get there!

The little tykes among us – the Pluto in Capricorn group – are fighting battles with themselves at the moment, battles which have to do with learning how to be secure in themselves as individuals. This is all about a balance of being secured without being hovered over: parents beware!

One of the strangest-seeming facts about astrology is the fact that our charts live on after we die. Just as JRR Tolkien's chart reflected the release of Peter Jackson's 'Lord of the Rings' films (I didn't check 'The Hobbit') and just as things have happened since the passing of first my father and then my mother which reflects on their charts, so this Pluto turn atop Facies echoes Upton Sinclair's chart - and the 'natal chart' for the release of his book "The Jungle."

The cycle is coming around again. But then, they always do.
Whoever you are, and however you think of your life or the lives of those who have gone before us, hopefully you recognize the patterns in your own life. Hopefully you are able to see your life as a part of the greater world and the cycles of the greater world as operative in your own life.

Not to mention those cycles which are individual and important to our lives as individuals. Humans, like the society they live in are as driven as manifestations of a point in the vastness of time and space which is every bit as evolutionary the cycle of the dinosaurs, creatures which started as little amphibian things and evolved to become astonishing behemoths.

We just don't have a gazillion-million years to get our cycles straight in. But then, it's likely that dinosaurs weren't great thinkers. And no...(yes, I'm laughing)...some of us humans aren't such great thinkers either.

But we have the option to think, and that's what really counts.

It's our choice. 

Wherever you are on your journey, here’s to living a life as filled with conviction as that of Upton Sinclair.

And here’s to remembering some of the lessons he worked so hard and spent his life trying to make us aware of, lest we go through life blinded by the sheer desire to not see.

No comments:

Post a Comment