12 Degrees Sagittarius and America’s Persona
The consensus horoscope for the United States is what is known as the Sibley chart, named after the 18th century mundane astrologer, physician, and freemason Ebenezer Sibley¹ . The chart is based on the date of July 4th, 1776 at 5:10 PM LMT in Philadelphia, PA.
The Declaration of Independence was signed and the USA was born – a Cancer nation, with an Aquarius Moon.
The Ascendant in this chart is 12’21” Sagittarius.
The validity of this data has been argued and debated for years, rectified to 5:14 PM by astrologer Dane Rudhyar, and rectified again to 7:31 PM by others².
I recently heard a prominent astrologer* make a good case for an 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM “birth time” on 7/4/1776.
I have always felt that the Sibley chart, with it’s ascendant of 12 Sagittarius, was a good fit. Much has been written about America as a Cancer nation, the breadbasket of the world, but this article will focus simply on America’s ascendant, 12 degrees Sagittarius.
Astrologers describe the Ascendant as an individual’s persona. The face we show to others, or the mask we wear.
Carl Jung described the persona this way: “The persona is a complicated system of relations between individual consciousness and society, fittingly enough a kind of mask, designed on the one hand to make a definite impression upon others, and, on the other, to conceal the true nature of the individual.”³ Therefore, 12 Sagittarius can be considered the degree which represents America’s collective persona, or America’s mask.
What impression does 12 Sagittarius make, and what true nature does it conceal?
Our persona is reflected in our cultural icons. Say “America” to anyone on the planet and what are some of the images that come to mind? Try a little free-association.
“When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires will come to you” (4)
Among America’s many symbols and iconic characters, one of the most internationally recognizable is Mickey Mouse, and the exaggerated fantasy world of Disneyland.
Mickey’s creator, Walt Disney was born Dec. 5, 1901.
Disney’s Sun is 12’27” Sag. His Ascendant is 25’ Virgo (conjunct the US Neptune and appealing to our desire for fantasy and escapism), and his Moon is in Libra.
He was a film producer and director as well as an animator, writer, and entrepreneur.
Disney embodied the expansive, visionary Sagittarian archetype. Years after Mickey Mouse materialized from his imagination, he expanded on his vision and created two of America’s most popular tourist destinations: Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in Florida.
Beneath his magnanimous exterior, there was another Walt Disney. A Disney described in Marc Eliot’s book “Walt Disney: Hollywood’s Dark Prince”. Eliot portrays Disney as a lifelong anti-semite. Disney was known to be opposed to labor unions, in a Hollywood which relied on the Screen Actors Guild and The Screen Cartoonist’s Guild.
Disney also participated in HUAC (The House Un-American Activities Committee) in the early 1950’s.
The shadow side of Sagittarius is self-righteousness and prejudice with regard to politics or religion.
Centaurs were wild men. They were hardcore party animals and behaved like rock stars.
“Now you got me started
Don’t you leave me broken hearted
Cause I love you …too much” (5)
Another iconic American figure of course is Elvis Presley, a Capricorn. Elvis “the pelvis” (Sagittarius) was born January 8, 1935, 4:35 AM Tupelo, MS. Elvis’ Ascendant is 12’21” Sag. His Sun is 17’ Capricorn. Presley’s gyrating hips and thighs were hidden off-camera in his 1957 appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. His half-beast side was concealed and only half the man was seen. Why would we hide half of our centaurean idol? Again, the shadow of Sagittarius is religious dogma and Elvis’ sexual energy (Jupiter in Scorpio) was just too much, so to speak, and the censors had their way.
Presley’s connections to the US chart (and heart) aren’t limited to his 12 Sag rising and are apparent in progressions as well. On the day Elvis was born, the US secondary progressed Moon was 12 Sag. On the day he died, the secondary progressed US Moon was 12’43” Cancer – within a degree of the US natal Sun. What followed was an outpouring of love from fans across the country, many embarking on a pilgrimage to Graceland, Elvis’ lavish home in Memphis, TN.
On 1/28/56 Elvis made his first appearance on national TV, to coincide with the release of his first album. The secondary progressed US Moon was @25’22” Virgo, conjunct Elvis’ natal MC (and again – the US natal Neptune, ruler of music). The secondary progressed US 7th house cusp was 17 Capricorn, conjunct Elvis’s Sun. The US tertiary progressed Jupiter was 17 Capricorn as well.
In Elvis’ converse secondary progressed chart on 1/28/1956 his Vertex is at 13 degrees Cancer, conjunct the US natal Sun. Elvis’ prenatal eclipse was 13 Cap., exactly opposing the US natal Sun.
“When he died on August 16, 1977, it was a huge shock to his fans. However, it soon became clear that a combination of overwork, obesity, depression, bad diet and severe abuse of prescription drugs, accelerated his premature departure.”(6)
Sagittarius is known for overindulgence, as was clearly the case with Elvis. Whether it was women, drugs, or peanut butter and banana sandwiches, he was insatiable.
Another expression of the American shadow.
“Oh give me a home, where the buffalo roam….” (7)
Cable television brought the world another face of America. This…is CNN, or Cable News Network.
CNN’s founder Ted Turner was born on Nov. 19, 1938. His Ascendant is 12’51” Sag. His Sun Scorpio, and his Moon Libra.
Once known as “The Mouth of The South” (another Sagittarian quality) he was known to make an occasional racial slur. But it seems Mr. Turner has has grown over the years and become a pretty decent guy. Whether through his $1 billion pledge to the United Nations, or his founding of the “Goodwill Games” he’s become the embodiment of the higher, evolved side of Sagittarius and the nation itself. Turner is America’s top individual landowner, and possesses the largest private Bison herd in the world.
CNN is now owned by Time Warner and is seen in over 212 nations.
How’s that for Sagittarian expansiveness?
The cowboy of the American west is another centaurean figure, as well as an iconic link to America’s ascendant/persona. From James R. Lewis’s “The Astrology Book” : “…in fact, Centaur loosely translates to “those who round up bulls”.
Elvis, Disney, and CNN. Symbols of the American persona – our face to the world.
From Disneyland to Graceland to Turner’s two million acres, we see a Sagittarius persona that knows no limits or boundaries. The American idea of “Manifest Destiny” is pure Sagittarian. Contrasted by Sag’s shadow of racism, prejudice and overindulgence, they express both the higher and lower manifestations of a Sagittarian ascendant America. One expresses our brightest, highest aspirations, a true “Magic Kingdom”, and the other, our darker nature.
These individuals are more than American idols, they are American icons.
It bears mentioning, actor Christopher Reeve, a Libra, had a 12 degree Sagittarius Moon. A true “superman”, his optimistic outlook and courageous struggle with paralysis also embody the positive nature of Sag. His struggle was felt by most Americans on a deeply emotional level (Moon), since his natal Moon touched the the US Ascendant.
Other Sag rising Americans of note include: Brad Pitt, who’s ascendant is 12º (11º55″ ) Sagittarius, Shirley Temple, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Elizabeth Taylor. All three have Sag rising within 7 degree orb of 12’. Their reported birth times are also suspiciously on the “top of the hour”, or possibly rounded off. Sabian symbols, though not to be taken literally, can offer deeper insight into a particular degree and provide an image, similar to the I Ching or Tarot.
When looking at a particular degree, it is necessary to “round up”, so a degree fraction brings it to the next whole degree. Therefore, 12’21” Sag would be read as 13 Sag.
According to Marc Jones, The Sabian symbol for 13 Sag is:
“A young widow is surprised into a new birth of love.”
Lynda Hill’s version of 13 Sag is “A widow’s past is brought to light”.(8)
Other interpretations describe a “Widow dressed in black”
This imagery is reminiscent of Jackie Kennedy at JFK’s funeral.
The Sabian symbol for 12 Sag is:
“A flag becomes an eagle; the eagle a proud chanticleer.”
Maybe this helps us tweak the US Ascendant to exactly 12 Sag.
Other interesting connections:
George Armstrong Custer was born Dec. 5, 1839. His Sun was 12 Sag.
Others born on Dec. 5th include:
On Dec. 5th every year, the Sun is at about 12 – 13 degrees Sagittarius. On that date, the following events took place:
Dec. 5, 1848, President James Polk announces that “large amounts of gold” have been discovered in California.
Dec. 5, 1932, German/Swiss physicist, Albert Einstein was granted an American Visa.
Dec. 5, 1933, prohibition in the US ends.
Dec. 5, 1955 Rev. Martin Luther King leads the Montgomery, AL bus boycott.
Dec. 5, 1955 – The American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations merge and form the AFL-CIO
Full disclosure: This writer’s ascendant is 12 Sag.
Informal poll: Thank you for reading this far. If you like long posts like this, drop me a note. This also helps me know who’s actually reading.
When You Wish Upon a Star
Music: Leigh Harline; Lyrics: Ned Washington
When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires will come to you
If your heart is in your dreams, no request is too extreme
When you wish upon a star as dreamers do
(Fate is kind, she brings to those who love
The sweet fulfillment of their secret longing)
Like a bolt out of the blue, fate steps in and sees you through
When you wish upon a star, your dreams come true
Some believe that the US chart has a Scorpio ascendant and point to the eagle as evidence of this. Interesting that the eagle on the dollar bill holds 13 arrows.)
Sagitta is Latin for arrow. The archer points his arrow towards the Galactic Center…beyond his limitations. Spirit over matter, as the glyph of Jupiter symbolizes.
* Astrologer Frank Piechowski, in a lecture at UAC 2008, mentioned the 11:00 am – 1:00 pm time for the US chart.
1 Benson Bobrick, The Fated Sky
2 Lois Rodden’s web site, www.astrodatabank.com
3 Carl Jung, “The Relations between the Ego and the Unconscious” (1928). In CW 7: Two Essays on Analytical Psychology. P.305
4“When You Wish Upon a Star” by Harline and Washington
5 “Too Much” Elvis Presley
7 “Home On The Range” by Higley, Kelly, Guion
8 “360 Degrees of Wisdom” by Lynda Hill
© S.A. Hopkins 2010, all rights reserved. Read more of this >>