July 4, 1776: Dedicated to a Proposition

Most political astrologers agree that the United States was born on the day that the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence. However, a significant minority have settled on alternative dates, so let's begin with why the July 4, 1776 date is the primary starting point.

The most evident reason is that every American celebrates the Fourth of July as our country's birth date. What is a nation's birth moment if not the collective conscious agreement on its start? Honoring the significance of this date is the fascinating synchronistic and simultaneous deaths of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams on its 50th anniversary. Our second and third Presidents both died on July 4, 1826, and the friendly debates between these two essentially defined the two party political system.

Abraham Lincoln, in his famous Gettysburg Address reminded Americans that
this country was dedicated to the proposition "that all men are created equal." This phrase, taken from the Declaration of Independence has become the hallmark of democracy, and represents the essential birth of the American experiment in self-government.

The Constitution, often taken as a legitimate birth moment, institutionalized
Slavery, and therefore does not represent the proper birth moment. Lincoln understood this, and reminded people that the country in 1863 was born "four score and seven years ago." Another great symbol of America is the Statue of Liberty, which the French people offered to the United States on its 100th anniversary of July 4 1876.
Benjamin Franklin and the Wild Turkey

Once the July 4, 1776 date is accepted, the next and most difficult task is finding the exact time the document was first signed. The time gives us the Rising Sign, and rotates the planets around to their proper houses. One way to get a fix on the Ascendant is to identify the national image, the projected archetype onto the global stage. Benjamin Franklin had some ideas about this....
On the United States national seal, the Bald Eagle is shown with its wings spread,
holding an olive branch in one claw, and thirteen arrows in the other. It's tail feathers also number thirteen, and represent the united thirteen original colonies, as Franklin saw in the Wild Turkey. On coins, military insignia, and other devices, the eagle appears in a variety of postures. The Bald Eagle represents America's highest aspirations, and the indomitable power to carry out all its endeavors.

The most prominent national characteristics are symbolized by the Ascendant, so
in a country known worldwide as the only remaining superpower, it makes sense that the United States should have Scorpio Rising, the sign directly associated with the eagle. Still, very little consensus has been reached on the true birth moment, and among the most popular Ascendants for the United States are Gemini, Scorpio, and Sagittarius. The Scorpio and Sagittarius Ascendants derive their historical legitimacy from several written accounts which indicate that John Hancock signed the document when it came out of committee during the afternoon of the fourth.

Gemini Rising?

Inexplicably, the majority of astrologers use a Gemini Rising chart, which
corresponds to an early morning time, most popularly stated as 2:17 AM. While there is zero historical evidence to suggest an early morning time, an entire mythology has developed around the idea that one or more of the Founding Fathers were astrologers and selected this time as the most propitious. The fallacy of this argument is that no astrologer would pick a time when the chart ruler, Mercury, was retrograde, as it was on this date.

The Gemini Rising chart is based on the assumption that Benjamin Franklin and
other founding fathers had a secret astrological agenda for the United States.
Accordingly, the Declaration was signed at the unorthodox early hour when Uranus and Mars in Gemini would have been in the country's first house.

At the time when Benjamin Franklin, supposedly with pocket watch in hand, gave
the astrological "go-ahead," Uranus was within a degree of the Ascendant. Uranus, representing the urge for independence and freedom, makes an ideal planet to have rising if you're consciously choosing a revolutionary birth moment. The fact that virtually all of the signers were hardworking businessmen, and prudently stuck to a normal workday schedule during the deliberations is glossed over by advocates of this chart, as is the fact that Uranus wasn't even discovered until 1781.

Nevertheless, the Gemini Rising chart does show remarkable correlations to actual historical events, a fact which can be attributed to its nearly exact inversion of the more substantial Scorpio Rising horoscope, with a signing time of 2:21 PM. The Gemini horoscope has an Aquarius Midheaven, the Scorpio Rising horoscope places Aquarius on the fourth house. The Gemini Rising chart has the natal Moon at 18° Aquarius, very close to the Scorpio chart's 16° Aquarius nadir. Since the Moon and 4th house cusp share nearly identical meaning and zodiacal degree, it's easy to see how these two charts can be confused with each other.

Researcher Nicholas Campion gives the clearest explanation for how the Gemini
Rising chart came to be widely accepted in the 19th century, and then became an
unquestioned convention in the 20th century. The planet Uranus (with its descriptive keywords of freedom, independence, and equality), was obviously the significator of the American Revolution, and the tradition among 18th and 19th century astrologers was to place the ruling planet on the Ascendant. Uranus was in Gemini, and a 2:17 am birth moment places Uranus exactly on the Ascendant. Campion, in his indispensable "The Book of World Horoscopes," goes on to say "Doubts over whether the Gemini Rising chart represents a historical event are strengthened by the simple fact that the journals of congress of the time quite clearly indicate the approximate time the sessions began in the morning (around 9:00 am) and concluded in the evening, suggested that all delegates were asleep around 2:17 am."

When testing the various horoscopes for July 4, 1776, astrologers tend to verify
their favorite by comparing major transits of some historic event to the natal planetary positions, such as the assassination of John F Kennedy, or the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The problem with this methodology is twofold. First, that any chart chosen for July 4, 1776 will have Mars, Uranus, and all the planets (except for the Moon) in relatively the same zodiacal position; only the house positions change. And second, the subjective selection of an historical event does not take into account the cyclical nature of astrology: To verify a particular indicator means tracing it through history to find a periodic pattern of momentous and analogous events.

The way to differentiate between charts is to focus on the angles, the Midheaven- Nadir and the Ascendant-Descendant, which are starkly different from one chart to the next. And to be an accurate chart, the progressions and outer planet transits to these angles must correspond to consistently historical and cyclical turning points.

The most interesting appeal about the Gemini Rising chart is that it often works very well in forecasting, much better than the more logically rectified times set for the afternoon, such as a Libra or Sagittarius Rising charts. For example, its progressed Mars on April 12, 1861 was 15°48 Leo, exactly conjunct the nadir. This progression is a precise astrological picture of the outbreak of the Civil War. None of the other charts set for a daytime birth features this precise measurement, none of them except the chart set for twelve hours later, which reverses the MC-IC axis 180°.

This chart is the Scorpio Rising chart, and the time I have found most telling is
2:21 pm. When this chart is progressed to April 12, 1861 Mars is at 16°06 Leo,
exactly conjunct the MC! The beginning of the Civil War occurred 84 years after the Declaration was signed, and points directly to Uranus as the major significator by transit. Again, 84 years later, the United States was launching D-Day and fighting for the liberation of France during World War II. The prominence of Uranus in the natal horoscope is thus amply demonstrated. The Gemini Rising chart with Uranus on the Ascendant and the Sagittarius Rising chart with Uranus on the Descendant make good sense when considering this factor in isolation. In the Scorpio Rising chart, Uranus is exactly quincunx (150°) the 8° Scorpio Ascendant. All three of these charts make sense when considering the importance of Uranus to America's cyclical war patterns.
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Franklin played a leading role in early American history as an inventor, diplomat, and political scientist. As an elder statesman, he lent moral authority to Thomas Jefferson's words in the Declaration of Independence. Franklin proposed the innovative government framework of a federation, which he learned about by observing a group of cooperative Indian nations. The States would be equal partners in the federal government, with no individual state holding supreme power.
Franklin's organizational mind is shown by his Capricorn Sun, and the decisive effect he had on the United States as a national power is reflected in his Sun conjunct the U.S. natal Pluto, both at 27° Capricorn. Franklin wanted the national symbol to be the Wild Turkey. Although the Wild Turkey and the domesticated farm turkey are two completely different animals, today we refer to anything that looks clumsy or is otherwise of low quality as a "turkey." So fortunately in this case Franklin was over-ruled when in 1782 the new Congress selected the Bald Eagle to be the national emblem. Perhaps Franklin saw in the Wild Turkey the qualities of fierce independence, and when strutting about in its mating ritual, a picture of pride, confidence, and regal beauty. Perhaps he was reminded of the federated colonies when he saw the splayed tail feathers, which when fanned out in its iridescent colors presented an image of collective purpose and harmony.
The essence of the Bald Eagle is strength and courage. In ancient Sumer, Rome, and other warrior cultures, the eagle was the imperial symbol of command and control, and represented the ability to soar above all enemies. It's keen vision, powerful talons, and majestic appearance are further indications of moral superiority, of a divine or sacred mission. The eagle flies higher than any other bird, and thereby symbolizes the highest spiritual values.
This essay was written by Michael O'Reilly
Click here for information about his astrology services
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