Astrology through a political lens

By Hayley White

Reading time: 12 minutes

In the modern world, astrology has been somewhat discarded and labelled a pseudoscience, but in the ancient world, astrology permeated all aspects of people’s lives. It helped farmers grow their crops, forecast personal direction, and figure out political challenges. At the base of it, astrology helped people to assess and predict aspects of their lives that were unknown but essential. Politics was one such aspect.

Political astrology was utilised mostly by sovereigns, and some basic systems of astrology were also used by political rulers in order to help them predict key moments that could be harmful or helpful. Astrology fulfilled the desire to know where one stood in the universe. The key proverb of astrology is “As above, so below”. This meant that the movements of the cosmos were reflected as events on earth, and so could be used as a way to work out patterns in everyday life. Astrology was used to try to calculate when one was supposed to die, and this was significant to Roman politics because it created concerns about the political upheaval that might result.

By Hayley White

Reading time: 12 minutes

In the modern world, astrology has been somewhat discarded and labelled a pseudoscience, but in the ancient world, astrology permeated all aspects of people’s lives. It helped farmers grow their crops, forecast personal direction, and figure out political challenges. At the base of it, astrology helped people to assess and predict aspects of their lives that were unknown but essential. Politics was one such aspect.

Political astrology was utilised mostly by sovereigns, and some basic systems of astrology were also used by political rulers in order to help them predict key moments that could be harmful or helpful. Astrology fulfilled the desire to know where one stood in the universe. The key proverb of astrology is “As above, so below”. This meant that the movements of the cosmos were reflected as events on earth, and so could be used as a way to work out patterns in everyday life. Astrology was used to try to calculate when one was supposed to die, and this was significant to Roman politics because it created concerns about the political upheaval that might result.

Fatalism played a major role in first-century Roman politics because, as astrology grew in popularity, many believed that events were set in stone and bound to happen.

Iranian cultures also took great interest in the ancient art, and a number of their astrologers worked to uncover the links between the cosmos and their respective political and social worlds.

Astrology was used until it was banned by the Roman Empire and the advent of Christianity. It was cast in a negative light and tied to paganism, but it still persisted. As Gay (2001) says, astrology may have been tied to Satan, but it was too widespread and too pervasive to be condemned and squashed so easily. If fact, so many folk were still using astrology as a form of divination that Renaissance leaders felt the need to try and control it. They were well aware that it could be used as a predictive, and possibly propagandist tool and that it could be harmful if used against them by political enemies.

The idea of astrology as a propagandist tool in political astrology was an interesting one, considering Britain used an astrologer against Hitler in World War 2. Prime Minister Winston Churchill sent astrologer Louis de Wohl to the U.S. to persuade Americans that the Nazis would lose within months if America entered into the war. Despite this, M15 handlers had trouble trying to prevent the astrologer from publicly embarrassing high-ranking intelligence and military officers because his predictions were often vague and inconclusive. One which was written for December 1942 read: “The German astrologers must pray that enemy action does not force the Führer into making important decisions within the first eight days of the month (of July), as this would lead to great disaster” (NBC News, 2008).

Political astrologer, Judith Cowell

Politics has always been sticky, and this current age is no different. People may put less stock in the stars, and Judith Cowell, a political astrologer who writes her reports in Stars Over Washington, says that reading her blog is not a must. However, Judith has been working since 2005 to help her readers glean a little bit of cosmic guidance over the decisions and actions of the politicians sitting in the White House. She gives us a glimpse into why the world is as it is today, and what it could have been, had political astrology lived on. Judith’s daily astrological predictions are read by many.

I decide to ask her a few questions.

“How did you become interested in astrology?”

“At age 12, I purchased two astrology books, and continued reading them off and on into my 20s. Then in 1996, a Jupiter Return year for me, I began studying full time. Living in Athens, Georgia, there were no classes or seminars available, so I began collecting taped seminars and expanding my astrology library. In 1998, I contacted Noel Tyl (an American astrologer) who agreed to a consultation with me by phone, which began a series of consultations with expert astrologers. I used their natal (birth date), progressed, and returned information as study sessions.”

“Why the focus on political astrology?”

“Residing in Washington DC (twice!) years ago and having four planets in Capricorn, political astrology seemed a natural fit – especially after the World Trade Centre attacks on 9/11. At first, I posted in a magazine forum, but soon it wasn’t space enough to express my growing dissent against what Washington politicians were ‘doing with the place’ – the nation that my Revolutionary War ancestors had sacrificed, fought, and died for in order to help establish. And since self-publishing via blogging was becoming more popular, it appealed. Knowing I would be using fixed stars in my posts, the title ‘Stars Over Washington’ popped into my head so I created a place where political astrology could be used as a lens to look at politics, politicians, and social concerns.”

“What are the themes and purpose of Stars Over Washington?”

“Using the lens of astrology with a common-good slant is controversial with some astrologers who do not appreciate that I use the venerable art in such a practical way. I agree that I use the sacred to investigate the profane but since ‘As above, so below’ always applies to earthly events, even in Washington DC, there’s nothing I can do about it! My purpose is to keep tabs on politicians and political and social events and conditions using a common-good slant on behalf of America and the American people. Astrology allows a measure of ‘looking under the hood’ at primal factors and first causes which are not immediately discernible, and, of course, astrology is the only system of analysis that adds the element of time and timing. Correlating historical and planetary cycles often reveals what I call ‘cosmic time links’ which provide a broader view as no other system can.”

“You mentioned other astrologers that maybe don’t appreciate that you use astrology for politics, why do you think that is?”

“A few astrologers have mentioned through the years that they think my having a particular political slant (common good, I call it) when I read horoscopes undermines the lofty craft, and that therefore, I’m a political partisan, and biased, and not an astrologer at all. This, they say, based on their own political biases. I consider myself a novice astrologer and my bias is on behalf of America.”

“Which planets, asteroids, or points do you use?”

“All are fair game! Plus, fixed stars, solar and lunar eclipses, equinoxes and solstices, sensitized degrees, Sabian and other symbols, and new and full moons which sometimes act in similar Uranian fashion – disruptive and revealing – as eclipses can do.”

“How do you select topics?”

Eclipse
Photo: Geronimo Giqueaux, Unsplash

“Cosmic timing such as eclipses, solstices, solar returns, etc, but also events such as inaugurations, State of the Union addresses, elections, congressional actions such as votes, and any other political event or social condition that I have time to write about. Writing on historical topics and horoscopes is a favourite but I have no particular schedule and have published posts multiple times per week since 2005.”

“Are there any politicians that use or have used astrology?”

“Yes! The most famous case would be Ronald and Nancy Reagan who used astrology and astrologers in the Reagan White House. Past presidents such as F.D.R (Franklin D. Roosevelt) and Teddy Roosevelt are known to have used astrology and had people close to them who did. Freemason membership suggests familiarity if not the use of astrology via sacred geometry and, of course, many of America’s founders are in that category – certainly, Ben Franklin, who wrote and published Poor Richard’s Almanac for years. More currently, I mustn’t say, but it’s a frequent occurrence for Stars Over Washington to receive referral links coming in from Washington DC. Not conclusive evidence, of course, but someone is reading if not practising!”

“What mixture of planets/houses/degrees/etc in someone’s chart makes them a good politician – if there is such a thing!”

“A loaded question! Well, here are some potentials. A talent for acting is typical for a politician (Leo), a large ego (strong Sun), a materialistic leaning Jupiter/Sag, love of luxury Venus/Tau, speculative streak Jupiter/Neptune, ability to spin tales or lie with a straight face Mercury/Neptune, desire for extreme wealth Jupiter/Pluto, craving for power Sun/Pluto, talent for public speaking an outgoing Mercury, a strong work ethic a positive Saturn, attraction to risk-taking Mars/Uranus, ideological or political activism Mars (sometimes if afflicted, anti-societal which is also Neptune-north node), keeper of secrets Mercury/Pluto or planets in Scorpio or Pisces, social reformist tendencies Uranus-north node, criminal interests Neptune-Pluto.

“Actually, the list is endless, but altruism, humanitarianism, and/or a calling toward public service may often be found through Saturn-Neptune aspects or strong Pisces or Aquarian placements, and natal Moon signs reveal a person’s reigning need. But it’s like any other activity in life. Motivation is everything.”

Despite differences in opinion whether astrology works or not, astrology and astrologers provide interesting viewpoints on the way the world operates. As Judith says, looking at politics through an astrological lens can give us an interesting insight into the political landscape. It is definitely something that our ancient ancestors put stock into; whether you want to, is entirely up to you – worth a thought?

 

Sources: 1. Astrology and iconoclasm in Milton’s “Paradise regained”, Studies in English Literature 2. Britain used astrologer in fight against Hitler, nbcnews.com

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