The Astrology of American Independence

Throughout most of the 20th Century astrologers tried (mostly in vain) to establish a national horoscope for the United States of America. When I first started studying astrology in the early 1970s, one of the more popular charts was set for two something in the morning with Uranus rising in Gemini. I had to wonder then how such a time and chart could be possible. It did not seem particularly likely, probable or even possible that the Continental Congress was in session at two in the morning on July 4, 1776. I rejected the very idea and the chart as a-historical.

In the mid-1970s, the eminent astrologer, Dane Rudhyar, published his book ‘The Astrology of America’s Destiny’, in which he promoted his rectified version of what is known as the Sibly Chart. The time for both was set for shortly after 5:00 pm LMT on July 4th. That seemed much more plausible to me and many others. I began using Sibly, or more accurately, Rudhyar’s few minute rectification of it, as the chart for the U.S.A., and found it generally ‘worked’ with transits and progressions to most important historical events. The key word here being ‘most’. I found a number of questionable planetary patterns with certain events that just didn’t seem plausible. However, for the most part, I ignored those discrepancies, and in a typical ‘appeal to authority’, relied on the astrological expertise of Dane Rudhyar. That would change after studying the history.

In 1978, I went back to university to get another degree in American History. In my studies and research into the founding of the country, I was introduced to the two primary sources most often cited in the historiography, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. University history professors generally ignored Jefferson’s account because it had been written many years after the fact and didn’t always agree with Adams. They told us students to pay more attention to John Adams’ account, since it was written contemporaneously. Secondary sources written by historians tend to emphasize Adams over Jefferson as well.

In studying and researching these primary and secondary sources over the years, the following events and dates stand out in 1776:

*June 7th–The Lee Resolution, a motion to vote for Independence with a rationale for doing so, had been presented to the Congress earlier and the first week of June the Congress took up the issue. In the late afternoon of Friday, June 7th, as the Moon entered Pisces squaring a stellium of Sun, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Uranus in Gemini, with the Moon square Venus both sessquare to Saturn Rx in Libra, Congress decided to table the Resolution until members could seriously consider the Resolution and its consequences. The Colonies had declared war with England on the previous July 7, 1775, so such a Resolution as proposed by Lee from Virginia was not a surprise, but it required very serious consideration and the correctly stated political and philosophical reasons for independence. The Congress deemed Lee’s language in his Resolution too provocative and impolitic and voted to postpone the vote on it until July 1, 1776. Congress adjourned with July 1st set as the next session.

*July 1st–according to John Adams, Congress reconvened at 9:00 am, did their normal preliminary activities reviewing old business and setting the agenda for the day, for which an hour was usually reserved. In his account, the Lee Resolution was the first item on the agenda that day and they began debating the merits of it starting at 10:00 am, just prior to the exact 10:30 am Full Moon at 10* 12′ Capricorn squaring Saturn at 14 Libra. They debated for nine hours. After exhausting the pros and cons already by 06:30 pm, they put their coalitions together, and promptly at 07:00 pm, with the Moon at 15 Capricorn just minutes past the exact square to Saturn at 14 Libra (06:11pm), John Hancock, the President of the Congress, made a motion to end the debate and take a vote to agree to separate from England or not. The vote was nine Yes, two No, and two abstentions. The motion had passed. 5 Capricorn was on the Asc, opposing Jupiter at 5 Cancer, 29 Libra on the Midheaven trine to Venus at 29 Gemini.

Pennsylvania and South Carolina voted No. Delaware and New York abstained. Delaware abstained because a key pro-independence delegate, Caesar Rodney, had not yet arrived in time for the vote. Mercury was retrograde. They were dismayed that they had to abstain and their vote was not in the Yes column. South Carolina then made a motion to take a second vote when Caesar Rodney arrived, in order to accommodate Delaware. John Adams had been dismayed because the vote wasn’t unanimous, and saw the opportunity with South Carolina’s motion, to lobby Pennsylvania, South Carolina and New York to vote Yes on the second vote. He admits in his account that he wanted a unanimous vote for public relations and political purposes and therefore promoted the motion for the second vote. John Dickinson, the head of the Pennsylvania delegation, also agreed to a second vote, and told his delegation they could change their vote to Yes since the decision for independence had already been made. Dickinson then left and didn’t return for the second vote.

*July 2nd–Congress convened at their normal 09:00 am time and conducted their normal routine until Caesar Rodney arrived in the 11th hour of the morning. A second vote was then taken sometime between 11:30 am and noon as the Moon at 25 Capricorn opposed Mercury Rx at 25 Cancer. The vote was 12 Yes and 1 abstention, New York. Adams was disappointed, but he had successfully lobbied Pennsylvania and South Carolina to change their vote to Yes. Adams believed July 2nd would become the national holiday celebrating Independence. Historians have traditionally agreed with Adams’ sentiment and, therefore, have usually ignored the vote on July 1st. Yet, according to Adams, the first vote was a binding decision and the second vote was meant primarily for public relations purposes. It also didn’t change the outcome of the first vote. Pennsylvania’s leader, John Dickinson, didn’t even appear for the second vote, which is an important fact that supports the idea that the first vote was binding.

In the afternoon of July 2nd, the issue of a formal document declaring independence was raised again. Thomas Jefferson was the head of a small committee tasked to edit the Lee Resolution between June 7 and July 1. They reviewed the document and it was collectively decided it needed serious editing. Jefferson left and wrote a version that evening. He brought it back on the morning of July 3rd for review. It was rejected with more edits required. He made those edits and re-writes on the evening of July 3rd and brought it back on the morning of July 4th.

*July 4th–The session began as usual at 09:00 am, and at 10:00 am, Jefferson presented his most recent edits of what would become known as the Declaration of Independence. The document was reviewed and the language debated for about an hour, at which point, according to Adams, sometime in the 11th hour of the morning, a motion was made to accept the Declaration as edited. There are a number of rectified charts for that hour. (I personally use 11:32 am, although I am open to persuasion that a later time in the hour might prove ‘better’.)

They adjourned about noon and reassembled at 2:00 pm. At that point, the Declaration was more or less just ‘hanging there’ and a decision had to be made that would alter their lives forever. The question was whether they should or shouldn’t print, publish and distribute the Declaration. To do so, could have well been considered an act of Treason and every head in the Hall risked being put in a noose, if things went badly. It was truly a point of no return, if they agreed to publish it. They made the motion, it carried and passed. Astrologers who use this moment usually use 02:20 or 02:21 pm. 8 Scorpio was on the Asc,,16 Leo on the MC, the Moon was Void of Course at 25 Aquarius. (I interpret that to be a ‘safety’ factor for the Founders–nothing bad would come of printing and publishing.) The official congressional printer was then given the task of creating a ‘broadside’ or ‘fair copy’ of the Declaration (a template for printing). He left immediately for his print shop, and according to Adams, it took him more than five hours to create it.

From here on, things get murky. Sibly and Rudhyar place the time at 05:10-05:14pm that ‘something’ happened–ostensibly a declaration that the Colonies were independent. There is nothing in the historical record to support or confirm that. In 2015, while in Philadelphia, I took an official tour of Independence Hall with the official, federal historian. I asked him what he knew of the timing of events on the afternoon of July 4th. He said, they adjourned for dinner sometime ‘before 5:00 pm’ and returned at 07:00 pm for the presentation of the printer’s ‘fair copy’. Based on the record, we can assume the printer returned sometime between 07:30-08:00 pm, at which time, according to the historian at Independence Hall, John Hancock formally accepted the Declaration, read it out loud, then affixed his now famous large signature to it. There’s no time recorded, but it most likely happened between 08:00-09:00 pm. It was also decided that evening that they could print enough copies and get them distributed by July 8th. They then scheduled the formal public presentation and planned celebrations for ‘high noon’ on that date.

So, based on the historical record, both primary and secondary sources, nothing critical to Independence occurred at the time used for the Sibly/Rudhyar charts. If the official historian is correct, they had adjourned for dinner and weren’t even present in the Hall at that time.

*July 8th--I think it’s important to note that the official record states ‘high noon’ and not 12:00 pm as the time of the official public presentation of the Declaration of Independence. High Noon is when the Sun is directly over head 90 degrees to the horizon. In Philadelphia on July 8th, that would have been at 12:16 pm LMT, 16 Libra on the Asc, 19 Cancer on the MC, Moon at 21 Aries in the 7th. It takes approximately 10 minutes to read the Declaration of Independence out loud, and the celebrations began immediately after it was publicly read. I place the time about 12:28-12:30 pm.

To review quickly, this is the calendar of events with approximate times according to the historical record:

July 1, 07:08 pm, the first majority Yes vote for Independence.
July 2, 11:30 am-Noon, the second vote.
July 4, 11:00 am-Noon, the approval of the language in the Declaration.
July 4, 02:20-ish pm, the agreement to print and publish the Declaration.
July 4, 07:30-09:00 pm, John Hancock formally accepts the Declaration and signs it.
July 8, 12:16 pm, the formal public presentation/reading of the Declaration
July 8, 12:28-12:30 pm, the first celebration of US Independence.

The question, of course, is which one is the ‘founding horoscope’ for the U.S.A.? In order to sort that out, we have to ask ourselves what each one is actually mapping.

Let’s consider the first majority Yes vote on July 1. The Founders made clear at that moment their intention to separate from England and be independent. All events that followed flow from that ‘moment of intent’. The chart should then map the nature and character of the country, its appearance and reputation in the world, its economic potential, and as such, its ‘destiny’ in so far as character is destiny.

The July 2nd vote, re-confirmed the first vote, but more importantly, the chart should show the unity of mind and intention–it’s a political statement of their collective action and thus should show us the realities of the American ‘body-politic’.

The July 4th approval of the Declaration of Independence gives us a chart that lays out the political and philosophical reasons for their decision to separate from England. As such, the chart provides a clear picture of the ideals to which Americans aspire, but which might or might not be born out over time, and perhaps not without a fight or struggle, based on the July 1 chart for the moment of intent to become independent.

The July 4th agreement to print and publish the Declaration, the moment of no possible return, seems an important critical chart to examine. It’s certainly a watershed moment in the process. It might well be more important than the moment of approval of the Declaration as a statement of political and philosophical idealism.

The July 8th formal public presentation of the Declaration and the following ‘national celebration’ maps the public awareness of, acceptance of, celebration of their Independence. As such, it’s more about the American people than anything else–their collective character, their destiny and their relationship with each other, politically, culturally and regionally/geographically.

Here are the charts with the times that I use for each.

4 thoughts on “The Astrology of American Independence

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  4. Pavani

    RE: Astrology of American Independence. I just wanted to express my gratitude for your assembled historical research–which I read months ago and which I am re-reading today.

    Because of your efforts I am better informed in selecting from the several proposed birth dates for USA. Not that I believe there is One True Chart, but now I have higher confidence in a choice that had vexed me for some time. Hard to invite the astrological muse, unless and until I’ve done my best to present an appropriate chart. So again, thanks for your help with that issue!

    Today, when re-reading your article, I enjoyed and profited from other posts/personal information provided on this site. Proud to say I am your fellow Oregonian–living in Eugene this past quarter century, and like yourself I previously lived in Olympia. My personal info: 73 yo multicultural AA F (she/her). Childhood student of astrology, continually developing my own methods. Also a childhood social democrat worried for my country and grateful for the insights of astrologers like yourself who concern themselves (as I do) with political astrology.

    With my best regards and best wishes. (Twitter: @PavaniGanga)


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