A Birth Chart for the United States of America
If now we consider the zodiacal degrees of the four Angles
of the U.S. chart and their symbols, we will find an even more explicit confirmation of the true character of this American destiny. The symbols I use, here and throughout this book, are the Sabian symbols which I have discussed at great length in my recent book An Astrological Mandala - The Cycle of Transformation and its 360 Symbolic Phases
The symbol for the 14th degree of Sagittarius, which was rising at the symbolical "first breath" of the United States, is: The Great Pyramid and the Sphinx
. I have interpreted this symbol as referring to a tradition that has been most influential in the formation of the many esoteric groups which have lived a more or less underground existence, as secret societies, within Western society. We have already seen how important Freemasonry was in this process of enlightenment which led to the Jeffersonian preamble to the Declaration of Independence. Rosicrucian groups claim a direct connection with the ancient Egyptian Hermetic doctrines. One of the founders of the Theosophical Society in New York (1875), William Q. Judge, asserted that the American people as a whole was a collective reembodiment of the people of old Egypt, and my own study of the historical and precessional cycles established a significant correspondence between Alexandria and New York.
The reverse side of the Great Seal of the United States features what is usually called an "unfinished pyramid," and much has been made of this design by students of esoteric doctrines. The strange thing is that while the 1782 Act of Congress which described the two sides of the Seal demanded the use of both sides in official documents, only the reverse side with the American eagle has ever been used by the government. It was only during the Great Depression that the dollar bill was designed carrying both sides of the Seal.
It is easy to see that while the side with the eagle has a certain popular and nationalistic appeal as a symbol of strength, the pyramid side is filled with kabbalistic and occult symbolism. The reason for not having a dye cast for this pyramid side apparently was the feeling at the time on the part of some government officials that it was a "dull design" full of suspicious Masonic symbols. But it also contained the phrase Novus Ordo Seclorum
, with the date 1776, which stated the fundamental meaning of the new American nation. Could it not significantly be said that, as early as the Washington administration, this refusal to use the reverse side of the Great Seal was itself an unconscious representation of the lack of understanding of the deepest character and purpose of our nation by the American government?
In the design of this reverse side of the Seal the pyramid, formed by thirteen layers of stone — one for each of the original states of the Union — said to be unfinished because it has no material apex or capstone. But it is most likely that in its original form the Pyramid of Gizeh in Egypt ended with a square platform on which, perhaps, an altar or some astronomical instruments stood; Mexican pyramids also do not have pointed tops. The root of the word, pyr
, means "fire" and it may be that a blazing fire, or its, invisible spiritual counterpart, was kept on the platform as the top of the structure of material stones. The triangle surrounded with light rays seen in the Great Seal just above the pyramid actually is
the top of the pyramid; but it is a spiritual apex, not a material one. It alone can be the true apex of the mystic pyramid.(3
The Great Seal is for our nation what a personal signature is for an individual
, and the pyramid found on the officially still unused side certainly tends to corroborate the validity of the 14th degree of Sagittarius as the Ascendant of the U.S. birth chart. It anchors our national purpose and identity — a man's signature represents his social identity — in an ancient tradition. It cryptically, yet eloquently, suggests to us, as Americans, the essential character of our collective personality, and where we should
stand. An imaginative historian with a sense of the power of karma might even come to the conclusion that if the United States has been at great risks backing up Israel against modem Egypt, it is because in its ancient collective "incarnation" as old Egypt, our nation enslaved the Hebrews. Only a symbol perhaps, but symbols have power.
The symbol for the degree of the fourth House cusp of the U.S. birth chart — the third degree of Aries — is also significant:
The cameo profile of a man, suggesting the shape of his country. The sustaining power of the Whole, as the individual identifies himself with Its life. Having become objectively aware of his nature and his basic humanity, the individualizing person finds power and inner security in realizing his essential identity with the section of the universe in which he operates. He and it seem to his consciousness united in a cosmic-planetary process — in a "participation mystique." Metaphysically expressed, this is the concept of the identity of Atman and Brahman . . . This is the avatar ideal — the ideal of a "transpersonal" life and consciousness totally consecrated to and directed by a divine Power. This Power can also be conceived as the archetypal Self, the Christ-principle as it operates in and through an individual person and destiny who have become its outward manifestation in order to meet a collective need . . . To the modern individual assailed by surface evidence of meaninglessness and futility it gives a feeling of participation in the vast tide of evolution. It is the answer to the tragic sense of alienation so prevalent today . . . [This is] the stage of participation in a greater life.
Finding such a symbol in the U.S. chart at the place of deepest personal integration through feeling suggests what every American should experience if he or she is able to go beyond the shadow of this "participation in a greater life"; that is, beyond a powerful ego intent on making the most out of the land that gave birth to the physical body. On the other hand, the symbol has also a negative meaning which suggests an identification of the personal self with the physical form which manifests, yet also can totally hide, the archetypal pattern of the essential self and destiny. Alas, America has in a vast majority of cases followed the shadow rather than the spiritual reality. Still, when the sun shines behind a man walking on a path, the shadow precedes his body. Thus the task we collectively face is to follow Nietzsche's famous in junction: "Leap beyond your shadow!" I may add that the spiritual Sun symbolically is behind
the man whose destiny it is to carry light into the darkness. It is the devotee type of person who seeks only to turn his face toward the sun and to merge with it — and is often blinded by it.
While the Ascendant refers to the essential potentiality of a situation — and in natal astrology to a person's deeper truth-of-being and the possibility of his becoming intuitively aware of that truth-the Descendant suggests both the best way in which significant contacts with the outer world (the "not-self") may bring about, or spark, the intuitive revelation, and the nature of such contacts. The Sabian symbol for the 14th degree of Gemini is:
Bridging physical space and social distinctions, two men communicate telepathically. The capacity to transcend the limitations of bodily existence . . . of culture and ego. An effort should be made to enter a realm of consciousness in which the communication from mind to mind can take a more direct form, because the minds then operate within the One Mind of humanity . . . [The new] technique of transcendence . . . can also bring confusion and many failures, as well as illusory claims and self-deceit.
Applied to the collective experiences of the American people, this has a very revealing double meaning. In an external sense, more than any people before, Americans have used means of communication (telegraph, radio, television, contacts through space with our astronauts) which transcend normal physical contact. But also, in a more "occult" sense, America has been the birthplace of spiritualism, and in no other country has direct communication with spirits, masters, and space people been more widely claimed.
The symbol suggests that American people can best come to realize their spiritual identity, and a connection with an ancient Tradition, by opening their consciousness to possible contacts with a realm that transcends the merely physical. But this must be done with caution and discrimination, since the process allows the possibility of much self-deceit and lack of focus in everyday interpersonal relationships.
The third degree of Libra is found at the Mid Heaven of the United States birth chart. Its symbol is:
The dawn of a new day reveals everything changed. The ever-present possibility of beginning again on a new foundation of value . . . [The symbol] can be related to the process of true Initiation; (1) The experience of the undying Form of perfection [mentioned in Libra l°]; (2) The release of the energy incorporated in the Form in order to reach "That which-is-beyond-form-and-name"; (3) The reembodiment of energy in a new creative Act . . . An INNOVATOR.
For a nation that inscribed in its Great Seal the phrase Novus Ordo Seclorum
(A new order of the centuries), this symbol for the point in a chart that refers to the public life — and beyond it to the way to a possible spiritual contact with a Star of the Galaxy — is certainly most significant. Unfortunately, America has so far faded to stamp her official acts with the meaning of the reverse side of the Great Seal. This side of the national signature has remained an "occult" (i.e., hidden) aspect of America's highest function. It has even been somewhat debased, or rather, materialized, by being identified with the dollar. However, during the 1972 presidential campaign and at the apex of the crucial Watergate confrontation between the President and the duly constituted Committee of the Senate, Pluto was moving back and forth over this third degree of Libra, and perhaps we can expect that a "salvaging" operation has at least begun. No one can tell where this process will lead, but very often Pluto mercilessly reaches into the hidden depths of the psyche. This could mean death or rebirth. It always implies a crisis. To block such a crisis, or to return to an old and obsolete kind of status quo, a always constitutes an unforgivable sin against the Holy Ghost. A refusal to move along the path of evolution is the worst kind of defeat.
Random House, 1973. The term "Sabian" has been used by Marc Jones-philosopher, occultist, astrologer, author, with a Ph.D. in philosophy from Columbia University — to designate an organization he began long ago, the Sabian Assembly. The term itself refers to the period of ancient Chaldea from which Marc Jones has derived inspiration. The Sabian set of symbols for each degree of the zodiac was obtained in 1925 in cooperation with a remarkable clairvoyant, Elsie Wheeler. Return
For a long list and interpretation of the occult meaning of all parts of the Great Seal, see Paul Foster Case's The Great Seal of the United States
(Rowney Press, Santa Barbara, Calif. 1935); also Manly Hall's The Secret Destiny of the United States
(Los Angeles, 1944) and The History of the Seal of the U.S.
, published in 1909 by the Department of State. A new book by Robert Hieronimus has just been published on the same subject (AUM Press, Baltimore, Md.) and medals have been cast showing the two sides of the Seal. Return
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