James Brady, public servant #1

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Gun-control advocate James Brady, who famously was shot during a 1981 assassination attempt on then-president Ronald Reagan while serving as his press secretary, died Monday of undisclosed cause. He was 73.

 James S. Brady and Pres. Bill Clinton at the signing of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act on Nov. 30, 1993. Reuters photo

James S. Brady and Pres. Bill Clinton at the signing of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act on Nov. 30, 1993. Reuters photo

Born Aug. 29, 1940, at 7:05 pm CST in Centralia, Illinois, Brady’s natal chart is rich with indicators that his would be a life of service. Although he oriented his early career on public service through politics, it was not until a bullet to the head (intended for Reagan) nearly took his life and left him permanently disabled that he found his mission in life — in truly Chirotic form.

Following his recovery, Brady (along with his wife, Sarah, who eventually chaired the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence) lobbied for stricter handgun and assault weapon restrictions. The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, also known as “the Brady Bill,” was signed into law by President Clinton in 1993; in 2000, the White House named its press briefing room after him.

As mentioned, Brady’s natal chart is rich. First up is Brady’s Mercury-Sun-Mars conjunction in Virgo in the 6th hours. Note that the Sun and Mars are exact within 6 arc minutes. Brady’s entire self-concept was about service, that service came with a message, and that message was about service — and Mars ensured he would be motivated enough not only to get the message out there, but to take tangible steps in making change happen.

Virgo is a mutable sign ruled by Mercury, but it’s not stuck in its head or caught up in theory; Virgo is about making thought concrete. You can see Brady’s two other Virgo planets underscoring this process: he has Pallas and Neptune conjunct just inside the 7th house cusp. This is a picture of idealistic vision (Neptune) and political strategy (of the feminine warrior stripe) working hand-in-hand to accomplish a goal. In the 7th, they do so with a focus on ‘the other’: Brady’s gun control work was not going to undo his shooting; it was about preventing the same from happening to others.

When looking at an astrological birth chart, how a person sees himself, expresses himself, and makes his mark in the wider world are indicated by the Sun, ascendant and midheaven. We already know Brady’s Sun is in earthy, detail-oriented Virgo.

View larger sized chart here.

View larger sized chart below.

His ascendant is in Pisces, a creative, passionate water sign with its own leanings toward serving humanity, though from a more ‘spiritual’, big-picture side of things. And Brady’s midheaven is in late Sagittarius, conjunct the Galactic Core — our galaxy’s ‘homing signal’. Taken together, those three elements describe someone who ‘gets it’ about humanity and having a life’s purpose on a deep (or is it high?) level.

It’s hard not to want to talk about everything in Brady’s chart (not to mention the transits that the chart for his shooting make to his natal chart). Without going into exhaustive detail, I do want to mention his packed 5th house, which includes a Cancer stellium of Venus, the Moon, Juno, Vesta and Chiron all within seven degrees.

The 5th house is about play, pleasure and children (among other things), but also about risk. One could say that for Brady to part from his Republican origins and side with a primarily Democratic cause (gun control) was a political risk of sorts. But in Cancer, it was not cold and calculated; rather, an emotional gamble based in caring for others — that is, all of U.S. society, particularly the children who so terribly often are victims of gun violence. In doing so, he married (Juno) his devotion (Vesta) to service with his own healing (Chiron).

As mentioned, the chart for Brady’s birth and the chart for his 1981 shooting share some striking correlations. I have added the chart for the assassination attempt on Pres. Reagan below, after Brady’s natal chart, and have invited Len Wallick (who has assisted with researching the astrology and uncovered some brilliant gems linking the two charts) to add his commentary below. Notice in particular the presence of both a Jupiter-Saturn conjunction (a generation-defining event) and a Sun-Mars conjunction in each of the charts.

Rest in peace, Jim; you’re finally out of reach of the “physical terrorists” (as he once described physical therapists in an interview). We’ll do our best to carry on your legacy.

View glyph key here.

View glyph key here.

View glyph key here.

View glyph key here.

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3 Responses to James Brady, public servant #1

  1. mackie mackie says:

    Well spoken Len. Thank you.

  2. Amanda Painter Amanda Painter says:

    Len — thank you again for adding so much to the discussion of Brady’s astrology and that of the day the proved to be a fateful turning point for him. sometimes astrology is just astonishing — but it can be tricky to parse through all the information to see how beautifully things line up.

  3. Len Wallick Len Wallick says:

    Thank you, Amanda, for a compassionate reading. Jupiter and Saturn conjoin about every two decades (making it, in Eric’s words, a “generation defining” event) because the apparent motion of both is rather slow. Rounding the numbers off to the the nearest year, Jupiter takes about 12 years to go through all the signs and Saturn nearly 30 years.

    Mars and the Sun meet far more often because the Sun (by definition) goes around the entire zodiac once a year, periodically catching up with and passing Mars, which takes about (once again rounding off) two years to complete the circuit.

    Also, it is worth noting that Sun-Mars conjunctions are always very brief, just a few days. Whereas Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions can last for weeks on end (depending on whether their mutual, combined retrogrades are timed to keep them in close orb).

    Hence, it is extraordinary to be born with both Jupiter-Saturn and Sun-Mars conjunct at the same time. Others were born on the same day with the same aspects (albeit at different times and places, resulting in a different Moon, ascendant and mid-heaven) so Mr. Brady was not alone being born during this select double conjunction. Correlating with other, more individuating attributes to service, however, he may very well be alone in what he did with it.

    Beyond interpreting his nativity (as Amanda has already done), it is BEYOND extraordinary that on the very day James Brady’s life was changed by gunfire, the Sun and Mars were precisely conjunct again during a Jupiter-Saturn conjunction. That was not fate, but it was indicative of Mr. Brady’s place in the system we call solar.

    James Brady made a long series of choices that put him where he was on March 30, 1981. Those choices formed his character (which, as Amanda pointed out, included a proficiency for service). His character in turn, determined not only his fate but what he did with it. He could have chosen to withdraw from service and mourn his disability for the rest of his life. He did not.

    Instead, James Brady chose to overcome his disability and continue to serve in a broader, more compassionate capacity. Gone was the arrogance he displayed before the press (which may be said to correlate with Mercury as part of the Sun-Mars conjunction). Arrogance was replaced by something more genuine – courage.

    Please note that Chiron was transiting Mr. Brady’s natal Saturn-Jupiter conjunction on the day he was shot. And that the Moon was precisely (to the degree) opposed to his natal Pluto for the only time during an entire month just at that hour. Those aspects were indicative of the transformative potential of that year (also a Uranus opposition in progress), month, day, hour and moment in his life.

    While i would wish such a traumatic moment on nobody, we can justly say that each of us could (and often do) make far worse of any moment than James Brady did with that one.

    Sure, guns still find their way into the the hands of children and others incapable of being responsible for such a deadly device. James Brady did not succeed in changing the world as profoundly as he himself was changed, but he did the best he could with what a devastating event left him. If all of us could do something of the same thing in a common and unified cause, is there any doubt that the world would yield to our efforts regardless of our individual nativities?

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