A Birth Chart for the United States of America
If we refer Pluto in the second House of the U.S. chart to
the huge financial and industrial combines which control so much of our national life and of the life of individual Americans, we can see a trend arising among the giants of business who now claim that they exist to serve the needs of the people — spiritual and cultural, at least to the extent to which the average American person thinks of spirituality and culture, as well as economic. The great millionaires of the past and the billionaires of today are responsible for large foundations in the realm of education, scientific research, medicine, theater, etc. But these grants carry personal implications. Subtly so not so subtly, they affect what should be a free flow of creative endeavors that answer intuitively felt needs.
At a more individual level, the psychic revelations which today so many Americans are experiencing also tend to be based on personifications — and this has been true since the early days of spiritualism (from 1844). The concept of reincarnation is also personalized. Everything that in its essential nature has a planetary or cosmic character tends to be referred to a person; it is given a particular name, and to some degree worshipped. In a sense, this is idolatry: beautiful images and mystic personages take the place of the free experience of what should be apprehended as a melodic line in the immense symphony of all-encompassing spirit.
Because Pluto is retrograde, we could deduce that this trend to a materialization of the spiritual, which also involves financial profits, has to be faced in the inner life. The opposition between Mercury and Pluto — the only opposition aspect and the only retrograde planets of the chart
— surely seems to demand more than can be seen on the surface of American life; and it is this demand that, as we shall presently see, a considerable number of young people are seeking to answer by becoming involved in Oriental techniques of "meditation" and in promoting the ideals of a "counter-culture." Mercury is located in the eighth House traditionally related to "death and regeneration." This "death," however, refers to an inner transformation which may mean the overcoming of the possessiveness and personalizing tendency of the ego, brought about by a change from a self-oriented (the sixth House below the horizon) to an other-oriented (above-the-horizon) life. The latter results from a full acceptance of true partnership and of the productive nature of relationships whose fruit — outer and inner — are consecrated to the community, or increasingly now to mankind as a whole.
The fact that the North Node of the Moon is also in this House of death and regeneration stresses the need to hold a positive concept of self-transformation, even though the line of least resistance (symbolized by the South Node) is shown to be the gathering
and enjoying of possessions of all types.(7
) The symbol for the North Node degree (Leo 8°) refers to revolutionary activity
, which in most instances today deals with "the emotional and ideological attempt to return to a state of non-differentiation and chaos as a prelude to a new type of order." We can relate this symbol to the melting pot of races and cultures which is uniquely American, or to the psychic experience of everything-being-one and all-individual-differences-being-erased which some seekers after psychedelic ecstasies claim to have reached. We are dealing here with what certainly can be a valid, even if catabolic, process of deconditioning
— deconditioning in terms of liberation from ancestral bondage to old cultures and religious myths. Yet deconditioning is at best only the beginning of a long process of transformation.
The symbol for the South Node degree is also very significant in terms of America's dependence upon the whims of fashion: Beautifully gowned wax figures on display
. In its very positive aspect, as, "the inspiration one may derive from the appearance of Exemplars who present to us the archetypes of a new culture," the symbol refers to archetypes of a new order and new inspiring symbols. But in its negative aspect, the symbol hints at the average person's fascination with the models of the very latest fashion, and the restless pursuit of what somehow has become the "in" thing to do or to believe. This applies equally to the intellectual realms of science, education, psychology and sociology. It is the line of least effort and, to use a traditional term often associated with the South Node, of "self-undoing."
I should also mention the position of the Part of Fortune, which is very close to Mercury in the eighth House and in exact opposition to Pluto. The Part of Fortune is actually the index of the relationship between the Sun and the Moon, when this relationship is referred to the Ascendant. It deals with the manner in which vital energies affect the intuitive realization of a person's individual selfhood, truth-of-being or dharma
. The House in which the Part of Fortune is placed is the most important factor, for it suggests the optimum manner — in which the organism's vital forces can be used in the actualization of one's birth-potential. It can be related to "happiness" as well as to "good fortune," as a person follows the instinctive dictates of his own fundamental nature. When the Part is in the eighth House it carries as a basic message the possibility of and the need for self-transformation through relationship and rebirth within a larger field of activity.
The symbol for the degree of the Part of Fortune in the U.S. chart is:
An Indian girl introduces her white lover to her assembled tribe. Inner rebirth through a total acceptance of the primordial values manifest in the human body and its natural functions . . . An emotional and warm commitment to the return to nature which today appeals so strongly to the new generation, but which Jean Jacques Rousseau, many great Romanticists, and Gauguin long ago advocated and exemplified.
This symbol evidently touched in the mind of the clairvoyant Elsie Wheeler a memory of the famous story of Pocahontas, but it can be given a universal meaning. We are presented with a symbolic situation in which a girl living in a culture which identifies itself with nature and its functional rhythms, "saves" (or brings to a new realization of life) a man typifying an intellectual, Puritan and aggressive civilization. If we were to take this symbol most literally we would deduce from it that the American people should discover a new, wholesome and simple way of life by absorbing the message given by the Indian culture, though presumably at a higher level of "nature." Alas, the new Americans instead ruthlessly exiled or destroyed the Indians.
Why this destruction? Pluto in the second House of the U.S. chart is the answer, representing in that connection a relentless passion for possessions and wealth. If we think in terms of the symbol for Capricorn 28°, the degree of Pluto (A large aviary
), we can see in it the process of domesticating
natural and spiritual forces, and, in general, the wilderness. But domestication implies binding to a strictly human and personal purpose — whether it is necessary productivity and convenience, or pleasure and perhaps sentimental self-indulgence (the ubiquitous "pets" filling our emotionally barren modern homes).
The point opposed in the zodiac to the Part of Fortune is exactly conjunct Pluto in the U.S. chart. I have spoken of this point as the Point of Illumination, mainly because it is found at the Ascendant of a chart erected for any full moon, and the full moon is a symbol of fulfillment in objective consciousness within the mind that is truly "awake," the Buddha mind. The American mind has the potential
capacity to objectively experience the carefully planned operation of vast concepts — witness the landing on the Normandy beaches in World War II or now the trips to the Moon. But the negative aspect of this capacity is a depersonalizing involvement in vast complex enterprises which require split-second accuracy, extreme nervous and intellectual tension, and a rigid orchestration of overtrained and practically computerized human beings from whom feeling and spontaneity in most cases have been exercised, by our high priests of technology and psychology.
For a discussion of the Moon's nodes and the nodes of the planets, read Person-Centered Astrology
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