Saturday, August 21, 2004
Astrology and Politics
POLITICS, IDEOLOGIES, AND ASTRO-PSYCHOLOGY
Note: Reading articles from astrology magazines or overhearing astrological chart readings in coffee shops, one could get the impression that the planets somehow favor the Left-Wing political worldview – that a particular planetary alignment wants us to, “conserve energy,” or “redistribute wealth.” This is not the case. Planets and astrological “signs” don’t have a political agenda. They ultimately symbolize all possibilities in human temperament and worldview and can describe Capitalism, Socialism, and everything in between. The following essay takes exception to the all too common “New Age”/ Leftist sympathies that dominate interest in astrology. The bias expressed in the following essay is for free, open, and “materialistic” society. New Age space cadets and socialist closet authoritarians may not like what I have to say.
I’m not a vegetarian, I don't do yoga, and I'm usually the first to express skepticism or scorn regarding the latest New-Age fad. So it is that I’m almost embarrassed to admit taking an interest in the rather non-objective field of astrology, something I’ve studied for over 20 years now. I find astrology an interesting, and often accurate system for symbolizing the subtleties of human character. Whether correlations found by astrology are truly accurate are, of course, up to the observer.
There are schools of astrology that go far beyond the weekly Sun Sign clichés of newspapers and magazines. There are also many books available that probe the realms of philosophy and history within astrological contexts. Combining the ideas in such writings with my own observations over the years, I’ve found some curious correlations between astrological symbolism and certain ideals in political philosophy.
Beyond the “signs” familiar to most, the most revealing attributes depicted in astrology charts are found in the condition of “planets” in a chart. The Sun, Moon, and inner planets represent basic functions in the psyche -- ego energy, emotions, communications, relationships, etc. It is in the configurations between the planets beyond Mars that one sees ideological proclivities.
By themselves or in combination, the five planets beyond Mars symbolize a variety of sympathies. These inclinations can also be said to favor particular worldviews and, to a degree, political allegiances.
A brief summary of the “political” planets and their affinities are as follows:
Jupiter – Expansion, speculation, excess, extravagance, faith, tolerance, indulgence, adaptability, adventure, optimism, and unlimited options. The pursuit of “bigger and better.”
Saturn – Inhibition, caution, restraint, fear, control, denial, predictability, pessimism, gravity, and limitation. The pursuit of security, safety, and stability.
Uranus – Independence, rebellion, shock, unpredictability, excitement, disruption, scientific reasoning, and hyper-logic. The pursuit of change for the sake of change.
Neptune – Loss of individual ego boundaries, collectivism, sacrifice, idealism, escapism, sloth, dependency, confusion, un-worldliness, lack of discipline, subversion, deception, victim hood, mystical “reasoning,” and feeling. The pursuit of dreams and escape from reality.
Pluto – Primal, instinctual, compressed, obsessive, focused, and explosive power. The pursuit of catharsis.
Jupiter is coincidentally the dominant planet in the charts of the United States (July 4, 1776), Ronald Reagan, and George Bush. Jupiter is expansive, optimistic and adaptable; guided by faith, generosity, and tolerance. Jupiter is the ultimate astrological symbol of free and open society and the values that nurture such systems. A Jupiter society will be a prosperous and dynamic one.
As the appropriate symbol for the free market in general, Jupiter is also speculative, indulgent, optimistic, and willing to take risks to better circumstances. The entire outlook of classical liberalism can be seen more fully in the symbolic attributes of Jupiter when it is combined with the outer planet Uranus – symbol of the "Promethean" impulse of, innovation, autonomy, and defiance against the mob and centralized authority. So, where in astrological symbolism do we see classical liberalism’s opposite?
The planet Saturn is the diametrical opposite of Jupiter. Saturn is grim, inhibited, Stern, controlling and often harsh. Not surprisingly, it shows up prominently in the astrology charts of the following well known political ideologues: Adolph Hitler, Al-Zarqawi, Kim Jong Il, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, Milosovic, Ceausescu, Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore, and John Kerry, (to name but a few).
Obviously, John Kerry is no equal to Hitler but the strong placement of Saturn in his chart parallels a predictable dry and stoic manner as well as a strong and forceful need to control for the sheer sake of control.
It's not that Saturn is incapable of laughter or levity; it's just that its basic worldview is more serious and marked by a need to control events and people. Its manner is rigid regardless of the noble ends it may claim to strive for. In this regard, Saturn is prone to like a powerful centralized state authority if the subject feels it is his or her own ideals being imposed. A Saturn society will be stifling, grim, uptight, needy, and authoritarian.
Uranus, by itself, is electric and unpredictable. While always exhibiting a strong streak of independence and originality, other factors in the chart will determine if this is a good thing or not. A personal quality of rebelliousness does not mean one necessarily favors other people’s independence or freedom. A productive and tolerant expression of Uranus can be seen when Uranus is harmoniously combined with Jupiter in a particular chart. It is here that truly freedom-loving attributes are expressed within a context of tolerance and positive growth. Discordant ties to Uranus or the presence of negative Saturn aspects with Uranus can exhibit a reckless rebelliousness that is ultimately chaotic and destructive.
Where Jupiter with Uranus can be seen to describe free and open society, socialism correlates with prominent placements of Saturn and Neptune.
Neptune is romantic idealism and the loss of ego boundaries. By itself, it can be sensitive, artistic, and "compassionate." It can also be escapist and delusional. When it seeks power it does so through deception, subversion, and cries of victim hood. A person’s chart dominated by Neptune will often seek to show how “spiritual” they are while viewing the world around them as overly “materialistic.”
A mix of Neptune’s idealism and Saturn’s cold need for control is Socialism par excellence.
“I’m creating a better world. The Earth and all of humanity shall be as one. Do as I say now…or I’ll cry and say you’re oppressing a helpless victim.” When the collectivist ideologue actually attains power, they begin to implement rules and regulations to enhance and focus the power of state -- to “create a better world and secure future.”
A “selfish” free-marketeer is perhaps less altruistic or idealistic, but also less obsessive in authoritarian impulses than a contrived altruist. The mass exterminations, purges, and “re-education” programs of the last century had not been the legacy of businesspersons (Jupiter / Uranus), but “compassionate” idealists (Saturn / Neptune).
A discordant combination of Neptune and Saturn in an individual’s psyche will often demand that his or her dream world be made real. This isn’t a problem if it means the creation of a new painting style or musical composition. The fact that many “sensitive” Neptunian spirits in Drama and The Arts are often more disposed in their sympathies to collectivist schemes is one indication of the affinity between Neptunian idealism and collectivist political ideologies…anything but support for “materialism” and its political voice – Capitalism.
Pluto by itself is rather neutral in allegiance, though it will intensify other qualities seen in the birthchart considerably. Pluto adds a focused intensity that can be powerful or destructive, but in itself does not appear to sway one’s philosophy in any particular direction. It can probably be said that it does prod one to a sort of ruthless self-inquiry or urge to seek “the truth.” Its ultimate nature is that of power itself, which can feed any number of ideological agendas. Nietzsche had Pluto opposite the Sun in his birth chart, a particularly powerful aspect. It’s no surprise that both extreme Leftist and Nationalists have used his appraisals to justify their own “will to power.”
In the great conflict between philosophical conservatism and leftism, a point often overlooked is that the desire of the individual to be left alone to pursue their own path – genuine conservatism -- is ultimately a passive stance. This can hardly be said of the left's desire to increase and impose the authority of the state to enforce varying levels of collective order and obedience. It is the left (collectivism) that seeks to impose authority over others in this timeless exchange, and it’s the motivations of idealism that makes it so.
The previously stated correlations do not mean to imply that there's no such thing as "right-wing" authoritarianism. One should however realize that right-wing extremists are, in essence, idealistic and collectivist in their attitudes. Nazis, Fascists, and religious puritans are ultimately varying expressions of collectivism, at odds with all who favor individual freedom. Though Nazi and Fascist extremists have traditionally been called “right wing,” they’ve certainly never been sympathetic to truly free markets in products and ideas.1 They are notably fervent in their need to control a society’s economy as well as its citizen’s personal choices and lifestyles. Rants idealizing the needs of "the people,” "the Volksgemeinschaft,” "the race," or “the proletariat,” are essentially the same and reflect the collectivist/idealist perspective seen in Neptune’s astrological symbolism along with Saturn’s symbolism as the authoritarian part of the equation. Whether these planets appear strongly in Hitler's or Kim Jong Il's chart is of minor difference to one living in under such tyranny. A radical free-market libertarian represents the opposite of this collectivist -- saturnine -- need for controlled “utopia.” To accurately label a spectrum of political ideals would require replacing the traditional “Left/Right” dichotomy with one depicting degrees of individualism and tolerance vs. collectivist authoritarianism.
Uranus and Jupiter represent tendencies that are considerably worldlier in their symbolic nature when compared to Neptune and Saturn. They seek adventure, novelty, progress, and fun. They want to travel the world. Neptune wants to leave the world completely – or, with sufficient doses of Saturn, impose a new one.
Needless to say, there are complex variations in individual charts that may appear contradictory. When planets of opposite character are in conflict with one another the inner struggle typically manifests as a powerful “projection.” A person “sides” with one planet strongly while the other becomes the “enemy” of one’s values. In such cases, serious dissonance will occasionally show up as radical switches in view (i.e. radical communist to anti-communist). In rare cases one can reconcile dichotomous qualities to some degree, but one pole of the conflict will likely always be a source of irritation or obsessive concern. An example of conflicting attributes can be seen in Vice President Dick Chaney’s astrological chart, where both Jupiter and Saturn angle the Sun. I’ll let the reader’s personal bias interpret the possible attributes of that configuration.
The prominence of certain “Sun Signs” in an astrology chart adds further context to planetary configurations.
Both John Kerry and Noam Chomsky have Saturn lined up with the Sun in their birth charts. In both cases the Sun is in the relatively adaptable sign Sagittarius, thus mitigating some elements of dogmatism or inflexibility.2
On the less adaptable side of the astro-political spectrum is the "fixed-earth” sign Taurus, the most deliberate, persistent, and inflexible of the signs. To have the "Sun in Taurus" is certainly the least likely symbol of a wishy-washy changeable disposition. The "sign" itself is neither good or bad, of course. The world is surely a better place for having the persistence of Tony Blair or other Taurus’ like Harry Truman or Johannes Brahms.3 But, mix Sun in Taurus with more negative political obsessions (i.e. Saturn/Neptune), and you get some serious dogmatism and inflexibility, i.e. Robespierre, Marx, Lenin, Hitler, Ho Chi Minh, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, Che Guevara,4 and…Michael Moore (with the particularly harsh alignment of Saturn opposite the sun in Taurus). Such examples must in all fairness be taken with a "grain of salt,” of course. I wouldn't attempt to make my case in a political debate based on astrological coincidences, but some interesting correlations can be found for those who take interest in such things.5
Beyond individuals, a horoscope can also be made for a wedding, business, country, or any other institution. An astrological chart is ultimately a symbol of archetypal qualities in a moment of time. A person or event coming into existence (being “born”) is believed by astrologers to embody this moment’s qualities. Hitler was made Chancellor of Germany while Saturn was close to the same degree as the Sun – what’s called a “conjunction” in astrology. The Russian Communist Coup d’e`-tat (e.g. the establishment of the former Soviet Union) occurred as Saturn was at a discordant angle (90 degrees) to the Sun. In addition, both charts had Venus in Capricorn opposite Pluto (interestingly the same configuration is seen in Stalin’s and Al Capone’s chart). In an individual chart, the Pluto/Venus opposition can often describe someone obsessively controlling, specifically in the realm of interpersonal relationship. It can also indicate abusiveness, sadism, or violence. There’s no need to indicate how this may have manifest in the astrological charts of Nazi Germany or the former Soviet Union.
Astrologically, George Bush’s birth chart indicates that he is not the contemporary embodiment of Hitler after all (as some have claimed). Yet, one of his bigger critics, Michael Moore, actually comes close to being so in basic temperament as well as astrological indicators of authoritarian dogmatism.
The caricatures conjured by astrological symbolism are revealing. Jupiter/Uranus is the consummate “cowboy” (America?), revered and disdained for its wild independence and folksy, spirited simplicity. Neptune/Saturn is admired and feared for its moralistic fervor and artsy sophistication. Although some idolize this personality type, my own biased image is of the smug and arrogant intellectual control freak that feels they know best how others should live. Those who admire such closet dictators see in them attributes deserving of leadership and positions of power. Needless to say, these same followers are not likely to appreciate the unsophisticated traits of “reckless” independent cowboys.
Ultimately, astrological symbolism applied to political philosophy tells us what we already know. Collectivist-authoritarians are motivated by a rigid need to control others and impose the yearnings of Romantic Idealism – utopia through force. Classical Liberalism (true “conservatism”) is motivated by an appreciation for individualism, adaptability, and freedom in the open market of products, values, and ideals.
The possibility that a given astrological configuration may indicate qualities of inflexibility or sympathy with collectivist creeds, does not mean we “should” support or surrender to revolution, Jihad, or any other fervent agenda.
The signs and planets of astrology don’t “take sides,” but they do seem to correlate with who chooses what side and why.
Additional related observations with example astrology charts can be found in more recent posts, here.
1. It must be noted that the very origin of the Left/Right label bears this out. References to Left/Right political allegiances originated during the French Revolution. The Left were the hard core Jacobin revolutionaries (akin to modern socialists). The so called “Right” were actually former revolutionaries themselves but were considerably more moderate and similar in their goals to the prime movers of America’s bourgeois revolution. In modern times, Mussolini was, for all practical purposes, a socialist with a long history of support for Marx’s ideals. It should also be noted that Nazi is the German name for “National Socialist German Worker’s Party.” Adopting elements of Nationalism, militarism, and racism has hardly mitigated the essentially Socialist / collectivist nature of Fascism that put it at odds with classical liberalism (capitalism).
2. In addition to their rather dry manner and lack of levity, there are numerous anecdotal accounts of both ideologues exhibiting smug and overbearing authority over underlings. John Kerry’s “I don’t fall down” account of a skiing mishap comes to mind, along with his rude chastisement of a bodyguard he claimed “made’ him fall.
3. It must be further stressed that those born under the sun sign Taurus are not automatically “dictators.” Again, there are numerous famous “Taurus’” in the arts and in every other field of endeavor. Without other mitigating indicators, the sign Taurus does tend to endow the personality with qualities of persistence, determination, and steadfast inflexibility. These attributes can, of course be expressed in numerous and positive ways. When other factors in the birth chart prone towards idealism and fervent need for power and control, the more negative attributes of the sign can appear with pronounced authority and dogmatism.
4. Che Guevara’s official birthday would make him a Gemini. A more thorough investigation indicates that his mother deliberately misstated the date to hide an issue of illegitimacy. It turns out that he actually was a Taurus like the other noted characters listed.
5. To gauge any astrology chart accurately one must synthesize both complimentary and conflicting aspects within it. An individual can of course have both Saturn and Jupiter strong in their chart and be neither a tyrant nor laissez-faire, free market thinker. Just the same, a person can have both Uranus and Neptune prominent in their chart and align themselves with neither capitalist nor socialist perspectives. Both tyrants and saints often have dominion over kingdoms no bigger than a household.
This essay is the intellectual property of Promethean Antagonist and may not be used without permission.
© Promethean Antagonist 2007