Posted on June 18, 2020 | Link to original
Dear Friend and Reader:
The 244th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence is still a few weeks off, though the Sun’s ingress into Cancer, and this weekend’s solstice solar eclipse, are a kind of invocation. The solstice cluster gets the USA birthday season rolling, beginning with Mercury retrograde starting today, the Sun entering Cancer Saturday and an eclipse Sunday.
The United States Pluto return has been well underway for a while, I would propose since 2008 at the latest (or potentially 2001, at the earliest). We are now at full throttle and are waiting for the engines to overheat. Note, this is the first Pluto return in U.S. history, as they happen once every two-and-a-half centuries.
By one measure, the purpose and mission of the United States was initiated at the time of the Declaration. It is a moving document to read. It describes many of the kinds of things we’re experiencing today. The idealism described is an outstanding thing, and I think that the spirit of most American patriotism is rooted in its text.
(There’s another theory about the United States inception, related to the Articles of Confederation in late 1777. I’ve written about that chart in the past, and I plan to return to it.)
The official name of the Declaration of Independence horoscope is the Sibly Chart. It has the Sun in Cancer, accompanied by many other planets and points: Venus, Jupiter, Mercury, the vertex and the Part of Fortune. Because the chart has Sagittarius rising, Cancer is the 8th house. That’s a lot to have in one house, particularly the 8th — and in a national chart, the alignment carries great meaning.
You can hear my reading of the Declaration at this link.
Inferences of the 8th House
From the first English astrology textbook, published in 1647, we start off in semi-modern times with the themes, "Death, dowry, [and] the substance of the bride, etc.," which is about the transfer of wealth through marriage and inheritance.
As this concept has evolved into contemporary terms, we include ideas such as all resources shared or created through marriage, shared marital income, and certain kinds of investments, mostly generated or conducted through partnership (not market speculation — that is mostly the 5th house of games and risks).
The 8th can also represent the cause of death. And it represents who is no longer among us: who is already dead. You don’t need to use much imagination, or know much history, to account for that. Open up A People’s History of the United States to any page for more information. If the 8th represents an inheritance, those figures in the 8th are where it came from.
The 8th can describe a kind of hormonal level sex appeal. If a person has many planets in the 8th, the guy in the red Cadillac probably followed them down the street on the way home from school. Those with a very bold 8th house tend to know something is going on, but it’s often sketchy in their awareness, or they tend to be oblivious to it. Some figure it out and can turn on the power.
Matters of sexuality per se are a fairly recent addition to understanding the 8th, if I recall, beginning with 19th century master Alan Leo. With benefics Venus and Jupiter there along with the Sun and Mercury, you can be sure there will be plenty of whatever that thing is, in several different forms. Yet in the United States chart, we tend to dress it up in the wholesome church picnic-style of the sign Cancer. Or maybe a Vargas girl. Okay, if we’re feeling really saucy, a flapper.
The United States claims it likes its sex served with a slice of pie and a scoop of vanilla ice cream, conducted with a chaperone or two nearby so things don’t get too wild.
A Few Notes About the Sign Cancer
The sign Cancer has two other properties, not described in most conventional astrology. One of astrology’s oldest documents is called the Thema Mundi, or "chart of the world." It is not a literal chart of the planet but rather an esoteric key to reading Greek astrology (the kind we mostly use, described in this long, amazing interview with Robert Schmidt).
The Thema Mundi has the sign Cancer rising. It does not have Aries rising. This associates the 1st house inherently with Cancer and not (as is commonly thought) with Aries. The Thema Mundi’s orientation on the sign Cancer reflects the inherently nurturing quality of humanity. More ambitious, competitive, warlike Aries is on the career house, the 10th, where it belongs.
For the United States to have this many placements in Cancer, the message is: you inherited all this wealth to take care of the world.
Second, Alice Bailey describes the sign Cancer as where incarnation is initiated — as a gateway into planetary life. In other words, she says that souls enter incarnation via the sign Cancer. It is also associated with rebirth, which would be an optimistic way to describe what the United States is going through.
Bailey writes, "It is in order eventually to negate the space time concept and to prove it an illusion that the door in Cancer opens to the sacrificing, serving soul. Bear this always in mind as you study the subject of rebirth. In themselves, rebirth and reincarnation are misleading terms and ‘cyclic impulsion’, ‘intelligent purposeful repetition’ and ‘conscious in-breathing and out-breathing’ would describe more accurately this cosmic process."
When reading the sign Cancer, it’s good practice to consider how the thing you’re looking at would work as a cycle. In garden variety astrology, this is because the Moon (which rules the sign Cancer) runs in such a distinctive, palpable cycle. So that idea transfers back to the sign Cancer.
One last thought, applicable to your own chart: the United States has the Part of Fortune in Cancer. Therefore, Cancer is the "1st house of fortune." If we want to, we can read this chart as Cancer rising.
U.S. Chart on the Theme of Leadership
The United States has some horrid origins, with much genocide in its past. Yet despite this, its cosmic assignment is about using its resources well. There is tremendous responsibility implied in this chart. Partly this is described by the privileges of all that wealth.
This is supposed to be regulated by Saturn in Libra, which is square the Sun. Saturn in Libra in the 10th house is an extraordinarily positive placement. Saturn is exalted in Libra, and it has accidental dignity as the most elevated planet. That is about leadership. However, it’s also rather invested in its brassy image as a leader. Saturn in Libra can have a glamor problem, which must be addressed by a get-real approach to life and the willingness to go beyond appearances.
Instead of being honest about our propensities to war, we have built up our image on worshipping Superman, spaghetti westerns and Patton. There is this concept, which many still hold, that the United States can do no wrong, that it does not want to, and that it never would.
There is another side to the national ego that is more self-effacing and sees the United States as the perennial bully, tyrant, and purveyor of atomic bombs. Those people and their views tend to be sidelined. There are exceptions, though the United States takes its Good Cop image very seriously.
There needs to be an actual national memorial to the Native Americans in Washington DC, and a memorial to the enslaved people from Africa. There should be a memorial to the buffalo. There is something in the national mentality which says that being concerned about these things is unpatriotic. The spate of Vietnam War movies that described the many atrocities committed there quickly gave way to yellow ribbons.
Family Secrets and Big Changes
The 8th is the house of deeply kept secrets that eventually get out. They’re the kind of secrets whispered in the bedroom, or in the attorney’s office, or in the safety deposit box room. The United States has a lot of this kind of secret. In fact you could describe it as one of the most important facets of the national psyche.
Pluto has been opposing all these Cancer planets for 12 years. If it seems like all the secrets are spilling out like the Great Molasses Flood in 1919, now you have a picture of what that looks like. It just seems like the molasses cascades down the street and nobody wants to clean it up.
There are other effects. When Pluto entered Capricorn in 2008, it began making oppositions to all those planets in Cancer. The "Great Recession" was Pluto opposite U.S. Venus and Jupiter. Occupy Wall Street was Pluto opposite the U.S. Sun and Uranus square it.
This was also the time of several serious environmental disasters, including the BP oil spill into the Gulf of Mexico and the Fukushima nuclear meltdown (involving the U.S. corporation General Electric). This has also been the era of massive financial data breaches, sometimes 100 million data sets at a time. We learned that our personal information is for sale by Facebook, for political, marketing or surveillance purposes. It would be difficult to come up with a more classically illustrative 8th house issue than this systematic breach of privacy.
So we know from recent and memorable experiences that when this 8th house comes under transit, there is a palpable effect. There are changes and there are people in the streets, and weaknesses in systems can be revealed. Transits to the U.S. 8th house are back to taking place in full-force. Pluto is now opposite the United States Mercury, and Eris is square the United States Mercury.
As we can see, this is giving a voice to just about everything. Pluto and Eris making aspects to Mercury pretty much promise total revelation of all that has been concealed.
The question is, who will care? And who will be able to distinguish what is revealed from intentional disinformation? And does that make a difference? Because the little kid in me sees a lot of people who make no sense and decisions being made in a state of panic with no rational calculation.
Another way to look at this is to consider that the United States is having its mind (Mercury) changed or blown by the irrevocable simultaneous action of Pluto and Eris.
The Matter of Values
If I had a client come in with a 2nd house Pluto transit, I would be discussing values. This transit comes with an urgent need to get one’s priorities in order. That, in turn, calls for a reality check. A reality check is about taking an accounting of the actual facts and how one responds to them.
The 8th house, where the United States has all of its excellent assets and so much to offer, is where the resources come in. The 2nd is where one takes possession of them. Anyone who has inherited money knows there is a process you go through to make it your own. It might include probate court, then there is the spiritual process of actually taking ownership.
Some cultures require purification of the dead person’s things before they are taken into the household. Yet at a certain point, what comes to you must be claimed, or it lives in a curious limbo, attached to ghosts, and holding power over you.
One property of the 8th is that of crisis. People with a strong 8th can handle one, and they can even get attached. You would want a midwife or ER nurse to have a strong 8th house. With a series of new transits coming to the U.S. 8th, particularly Mercury retrograde, we are likely to see more and more drama. I am not big on the word "addiction" but boy it sure seems like the right concept.
We in the United States, as individuals and often as a culture, tend to live in perpetual crisis — never quite taking full ownership of our issues or our belongings. We never quite claim these ideals that we are so sure all those soldiers died for. The 2nd house is where we make things our own. But it’s also where we learn to live by our own ethics, and to cultivate self-reliance.
The 2nd is also about self-respect and self-esteem. We could make an excellent project out of that, though. Some would be amazed what the willingness to learn and challenge yourself does for your self-esteem. Maybe you already know.
The question of values we now face is what to do with the truth. This is a particularly vexing issue in a time when so many people think there is no such thing, or confuse their opinion with the reality of a situation. This is also a matter of self-respect. Twentieth century poet T. S. Eliot said that humankind cannot bear very much reality. So we have created a lot of other options. Yet one way or another, that inheritance is coming.
PS — I was reviewing the Sibly chart tonight and noticed something: the United States is at its Neptune opposition. This is actually the second in its history; the first was in 1858-1859, at the time of Pres. Lincoln’s "House Divided" speech. At the time there were 17 free states and 15 slave states. In 1859, a militant abolitionist raided Harper’s Ferry Armory in an attempt to spark a general slave rebellion, for which he was executed.
Today people go through Neptune square Neptune, a similar transit, at about age 40. This transit is about confronting all about one’s life that has not been true, or has been lived in some degree of denial. The usual difficulty of this transit is that involves having deceived oneself, or having allowed oneself to be lied to. Denial is a challenging tree to come down from. The Neptune square is about awakening to the necessities of truth. We could say the same thing about the Neptune opposition — as we are witnessing.
PPS — Today we pulled together a selection of my articles and broadcasts about the American experiment. These include all my writing and broadcasts we could find up in the attic, including writing about the Sibly chart, Scorpionic America (Articles of Confederation chart), U.S. Pluto transits, the Kennedy assassination, the Moon landing, and a selection of my writing on 9/11.