LONG AGO AND FAR AWAY, I was given the assignment to write an article projecting the probable outcome of a U.S. Presidential election that was still in the early primary stage. On the Republican side there were two contenders, which included our only appointed President Gerald Ford, and California Governor Ronald Reagan (which tells you how long ago and far away it was). On the Democratic side there were a half dozen or so contenders, many of whom were relative unknowns. Between all of those in both parties with their eye on the prize there was exactly one (Ford) at that early date who had a reliable birth time. For Reagan, several claimants were in circulation, all of which seemed to be phony, and most of the Democratic candidates were too unknown to have drawn much interest from astrological data hunters.
Given both the number of candidates and the lack of data, I decided to focus on outer-planet aspects to the candidates’ natal and progressed suns. Years later, I can’t remember for sure to what degree I was following my own intuition and observation, but in recently reviewing some articles on the subject of electoral predictions, I’ve decided that in my emphasis on the two suns, I was likely following trails of predictive bread crumbs laid down by astrologers Donald Bradley and Everett Blackman, even though my conclusions were a bit different than theirs. For example, Bradley, writing in American Astrology 1964 under the name of Garth Allen, wrote a forecast centering on the Republican convention that year in San Francisco which laid out a remarkable pattern of connections between transiting Pluto and the progressed suns of that year’s candidates. Bradley’s observation:
Using local zone-time noon as the epochal moment of the horoscopes for the three men whose birth hours are not known to us, careful calculations show that on the dates of the Republican convention, the longitudes of their progressed Suns in the sidereal zodiac are:
Goldwater 13°09′ Aquarius Rockefeller 16°22′ Leo
Lodge 18°50′ Leo Romney 16°38′ Leo
Nixon 18°01′ Aquarius Scranton 17°56′ Leo
The position of a progressed Sun depends upon the native’s age at any given time as well as upon his birth data as a whole. Fantastic though it seems, four of the candidates just happen to have been born spaced apart in such a way that the gears of their progressed horoscopes mesh, or link up with one another, age-wise. Compounding the oddity, Nixon’s progressed Sun falls athwart this same axis, but on the other side of the sky, 180° removed.
Somewhat prophetic, in a halfhearted way, Goldwater’s progressed Sun also tries to join the troops, being only 5° behind Nixon’s, which is still close enough to provide a scientific exercise in the estimation of the odds against all this having happened merely by chance. If you stood on a street comer, say, and randomly tapped six people on the shoulder, what are the odds against finding that all six you singled out have their progressed Suns within 5°42′ of either a conjunction or an opposition?
The exact figure is unimportant, it being staggeringly large. But the answer comes out in the neighborhood of 32,000,000 to 1 against mere coincidence being the explanation. Or work it out for the four conjoined Suns in Leo alone, assuming that Nixon’s and Goldwater’s cases were not cooperative in any way and thereby represent misses. The chances are still over 20,000 to 1 that you could randomly pick six people and out of them find four with progressed Suns all within a space of 2°29′ on the ecliptic.
The uniqueness of the interlocking configuration having been settled, now what does this convergence of Suns mean in practical terms? It certainly cannot tell us which man is going to win the nomination because the same aspects to that critical zone of zodiacal degrees would be commonly shared by all of them.
The planet Pluto the night balloting begins just happens to be at 18°04′ Leo Now we see the light, and won’t have to settle for any delineation so bland as saying, for instance, that a bundling of Suns signifies a coming together of radiant personalities, or even a stronger choice of words, a clash of egos.
It is axiomatic in astrology that Pluto transiting in major formation with the Sun evokes such situations as (a) throwing the klieg light of attention on the native, (b) creating nerve-fraying tension that leads to a pompous walkout, if not mass rejection, (c) inspiring a zealous following whose zeal at times becomes fanatical, and (d) causing shake-ups and showdowns of historic magnitude.
Take a half-dozen politicians who are simultaneously under a king-size Sun-Pluto influence and you can’t help but witness the most bristling “shake-up and showdown” of the decade, if not of the entire century.
The convention was indeed, as Bradley noted, a shake-up and showdown, with Goldwater’s backers booing Rockefeller and otherwise behaving in raucous fashion as he tried to speak. Goldwater himself, whose ardent conservative views had led him to be identified by both Democrats and “moderate” (i.e., liberal) Republicans as an extremist, defiantly highlighted his acceptance speech with the politically deadly admonition, “ . . . extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And . . . moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.”
In an election-prediction article published in the same magazine nine years later, Everett Blackman noted an interesting connection between transiting Saturn and the natal and progressed suns of candidates, and he also pointed to a connection of the same type involving vice presidents who succeeded to the presidency. Blackman summarized his conclusions thus:
(2) No vice-president has succeeded to the presidency without a favorable Jupiter-Sun aspect on the day he took office. In making this observation we should alert the reader to the fact that there are two Suns in every chart, a condition we will describe in some detail later. Since there are no exceptions to the above, the inference is obvious. No candidate can reach the presidency without a major Saturn-Sun aspect during the critical election-inauguration period. No president can die in office without Jupiter favorably aspected to the vice-president’s Sun.
In my own survey of the 1976 presidential election, I explored the transits to the natal and progressed suns of all involved, comparing them with past presidential contests. Then I kept an eye on what actually happened that year, and between Allen and Blackman’s suggestions and my own observations, I came up with several rules of thumb:
- Transits of Uranus or Jupiter to a candidate’s sun (particularly square, opposition, conjunction) signal an unsuccessful candidacy. This is usually due either to not staying on message or to the candidate creating a media splash that does not result in many votes.
- Transits of Neptune also signal an unsuccessful candidacy, but with the interesting addition either of scandal or a general mistrust of the candidate, a kind of personality clash between the public and the candidate.
That third rule seemed less certain than the others in regard to success and failure as such, though transits involving Neptune do seem to indicate definite problems in getting traction, for the reasons mentioned.
Fans of gender neutrality will note that I have used masculine pronouns throughout, which in this case is as it should be, since no woman then or since has been a serious contender for the top office, or in fact even made it into the “also ran” position, as the lone contender against the eventual winner. Because of that, the entire range of comparisons at this point is of man against man, at least at the presidential level, so it’s not at all safe to say any of what’s right (and, as you’ll see, much of it needs to be changed). And, by the way, observations in the ensuing years have led me to believe that whatever truth there is to these ideas, they apply only weakly to lower-level contests, perhaps due to the overwhelming personal demands required in a presidential campaign. American presidential candidates have to start the grind years in advance, and then work through a grueling primary system before they’ll know whether or not they’re even going to get to vie for the big prize.
Between the Saturn and Pluto in the first rule of thumb above, it always seemed to me that while Saturn provided lots of staying power and focus, Pluto was the real indicator of success, perhaps because it helped a candidate frame issues in a way that struck a chord with the public. However, no matter what the situation with the transiting planets at the time of the election, the simple notion of transits to natal and progressed sun is a fallback that is useful when no birth times are available, but is a secondary consideration when one has reasonable data in hand.
During the recent 2004 contest for the Democratic nomination, I was reminded of my old transit rules when I began paying attention to the fracas around the time of the first real test of strength of the ten-candidate field, the Iowa caucuses, followed a week later by the New Hampshire primary. The result of those two back-to-back challenges was two clear victories for John Kerry, and dashed hopes for the front-runner anointed by the media and endorsed by many leading party figures, Howard Dean. A quick comparison of the two showed, interestingly enough, that Kerry was undergoing a transit of Pluto to his natal Sun, while Howard Dean was not.
However, at least as interesting as Kerry’s win was the second place showing in Iowa of total dark horse John Edwards of North Carolina. Having myself dismissed Edwards early on in the contest as too new to the rough-and-tumble of presidential politics to get much traction, I hadn’t even looked at his birth pattern. There were, after all, quite a few candidates in any case at that point, even if one omitted the obvious comic-relief candidates and wannabes. Not only Edwards’ decent showing, but also his obvious persistence made him worth a look. The result was quite striking, especially when Kerry and Edwards were compared , and it led me to do a more thorough study of transits to presidential candidates’ charts. The comparison chart here is set for EST noon on “Super Tuesday,” and shows only transiting Saturn and Pluto, along with some interesting points of contact between the natal patterns of the two men.
One would think just from looking at this particular setup that Pluto does in fact play a role in the campaigns of American presidential contenders. However, given Bradley’s observations on the 1964 Republican convention and the comparison here, it also seems likely that simply saying “Pluto equals winner” isn’t sufficient. So I decided to make a more thorough study of the issue. What I found was more than a bit surprising.
- Presidents and Pluto . . . and the Rest (May 25th, 2004)