Social Security and the Bank Bill
Franklin Roosevelt (FDR) took office when the “big depression” of the 1930s was close to its low point. He is widely credited with turning the economy back up by means of a series of measures that radically changed the face of the U.S. government. Whether his measures were life-savers or disasters is still being argued, with low income people on one side and rich folks mostly on the other, but most people agree that some help from the government is desirable. Problems arise in deciding who is to be helped, how much, and when, and who is to pay for it.
Retired people naturally want to maintain their social security and Medicare. Farmers want to maintain their support system. Industrialists want protection against foreign competition, assistance in research and design, and high tax credits for their expenses. Some want less regulation but when they get it, they may wish they hadn’t. (E.g., the airlines.) Parents of handicapped children need help for their special needs. Hungry people want food. Homeless people want shelter. And no one wants to pay the taxes that would pay for all the preceding.
The two charts presented here are for institutions created during FDR’s first term of office which started in March, 1933. If we face a period of economic challenge in the last half of the l980s, these charts could be keys to the situation. Anything that has a beginning has a horoscope, but when we deal with institutions or organizations, it is often hard to determine an exact time for a chart. In these two cases, if my sources are accurate, history recorded the minute in which Roosevelt signed the bill to make the institution a law of the land.
At the time that Roosevelt became President, the whole banking system of the country was in a state of crisis. Starting in Michigan, three weeks before Roosevelt took office, a panic had spread rapidly through the country as people took their money out of the banks and many banks failed. Roosevelt’s first official act was to declare a “banking holiday” to determine which banks were sound, which could be made sound, and which were beyond redemption. Roosevelt’s Bank Bill was signed on the evening of March 9, 1933, just five days after his inauguration. It increased the government’s involvement in the banking industry, initiating the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) which insures individual deposits in all banks that are members. Since people have had faith that their money was safe in the bank, guaranteed by the government, there have been minimal panics or “runs on the bank.” Roosevelt’s Bank Bill also reorganized the Federal Reserve, the Central Bank of the U.S., which was discussed in an earlier issue of The Mutable Dilemma. If the U.S. Government is to again have a period of major concern and action involving our banking system, I would expect appropriate aspects in this Bank Bill horoscope.
The chart seems to fit the crisis situation present at the time the Bank Bill was signed. Pluto had just passed over the MC, Uranus was just about to set on the Descendant, the Ascendant was exactly quincunx the Sun in its own fifth house, the Moon was in Leo, and a combination of Mars-South node of the Moon-Neptune was opposite an equally close conjunction of Ceres-North node of the Moon-Venus, with the two last-named groups octile or trioctile the Ascendant-Pluto-Uranus T-square. All of the factors mentioned are fixed planets, signs, or houses except for the MC and the Ascendant. Saturn, our reality teacher, is also in a fixed sign, Aquarius, in the fourth house which symbolizes our need for emotional security. Tension over joint resources and executive action to deal with them fits the MC-Pluto. The Uranus- Ascendant opposition fits the radical steps taken by the government, a major departure from past patterns. The emphasis on Pisces, in addition to Jupiter opposite the Sun, points to the issue of faith, which the Bank Bill restored. Note that our faith is still not in ourselves or in the banks or in God. It is in the U.S. government’s ability to make good on its insurance promise. At this point in time, that faith is holding up our banking system. What might shake it or is it impregnable?
Looking at the secondary progressions for the chart, there are interesting aspects forming in the years ahead. But perhaps I might be excused for first bringing in some of my new little friends, the geographic asteroids. At the time the Bank Bill was signed, “Arabia” was rising at 25 degrees of Libra, part of the T-square to Pluto and Uranus. In the 1930s no one could have dreamed that Arabs would ever have an impact on the U.S. banking system and finances! Even closer to the Ascendant was Urania, just a half degree from rising. If Urania is similar to Uranus, their opposition across the angles is a repeated theme fitting the chaotic situation and the radical action taken to handle it. The asteroid “Russia” at 23 degrees of Capricorn, was also on an angle, filling in the cardinal T-square to make it a grand cross. Like Arabia, Russia was not a major concern in the 1930s. Today, our joint armament race may be contributing to the serious financial challenge that may loom ahead. Others of the new asteroids provided by Al H. Morrison are Icarus (with its danger of over-reach) and Hidalgo (with some power connotations) conjunct Pallas, opposite the Moon, and square the Antivertex- Vertex axis. Psyche closely conjunct the Antivertex offers another statement of the general feeling of impotence and a self-absorbed clutch for security that pervaded much of our country in the early 1930s. The asteroid “America” had very mixed aspects, square the sixth house Mercury for the worry over jobs, trioctile the tenth house Moon (ditto), but it was also sextile-trine the Virgo- Pisces grouping. Our faith and our ability to work did eventually rebuild our economy.
Returning to progressions, during the last decade, as we have struggled through the two oil price jumps which accelerated the inflation initiated by the Vietnam war, “America” has been moving through the square to the Ascendant, over the IC opposite MC- Pluto, and square Uranus. The aspects to Pluto-Uranus became exact in 1974, as the banking system of the world tried to handle the results of the first oil price jump in 1973. Many people worried about the enormous transfer of wealth which began at that time, but the banks took credit for “recycling” the Arabs sudden wealth to the poor nations which had to borrow the money to pay their new high oil bills. It would have been fine if the Arabs had loaned the money directly to the developing countries, but they are not stupid. They put it in the big banks (including many in the U.S.) and the banks loaned it to the countries. Now the banks (insured by Uncle Sam) owe it to the Arabs and to our own citizens but the countries that borrowed it cannot pay it back. At this time, the debtor countries are borrowing more to pay their interest, hoping that the world will come out of the recession which was initiated by the huge price jump in oil in 1979. When people or countries have to pay more for absolute necessities, there is less to spend on other things. When the demand for other things goes down, it starts a spiral that is very hard to reverse. Factories can’t sell as much so they lay off workers. Unemployed workers can’t buy as much so the spiral continues to go down until reversed by some new value coming into the system. At times in the past, the new value was the discovery of gold. In 1933, the government helped to reverse the trend by borrowing money and throwing it into the system. At the present time, many governments, including our own, are more deeply in debt than at any time in history, and there is no end in sight.
Our past panics, involving land prices, banks, or the stock exchange, have naturally followed times of boom when prices were inflated beyond their true value and debts could not be paid. Eventually, the balloon bursts; some people lose everything and others who have remained “liquid” (with cash in hand) buy at sacrifice prices and lay the foundation for more wealth. In such a collapse period, a few get much richer and a lot get much poorer. It seems to me that the 1970s and 1980s mark such a redistribution of wealth, and our current government policy is increasing the gulf between rich and poor. Modern technology is one form of “value added” enterprise, so some of the leaders in the biological and computer revolutions will be among the new-rich and they may eventually help to reverse the spiral into depression. By enabling a few people to accomplish tasks that once required many people, computer-directed robots, genetically-altered bacteria, and other modern marvels can vastly increase our productivity. But, despite the optimism in the U.S. over our “recovery,” I am afraid we cannot carry the rest of the world into a real recovery with our present monetary tactics. The austerity programs demanded of the debtor countries by the IMF mean hungry people. And even with the sacrifices, they still have almost no hope of even paying the interest on their increasing debt. At what point do people rebel? We have to find ways to share the increased productivity with the workers who are being replaced by robots.
Back to the Bank Bill chart again. In 1984-6, progressed Mercury goes through the opposition to progressed “Arabia”, progressed “Russia” reaches a conjunction to natal Saturn, progressed “America” comes to the conjunction with “Russia” while holding the square to the Uranus-progressed Uranus midpoint. By mid-1988, progressed “America” reaches the square to natal “Arabia”. Mercury crosses the Descendant, conjuncts Uranus and squares Pluto, also setting off the octile-trioctiles to the Virgo-Pisces groups in 1986-8. Progressed Venus squares natal and then progressed Saturn with the progressed Sun just behind in these same years from 1984 to the end of the decade. The progressed MC is quincunx natal Saturn from the summer of 1982 to the summer of 1984, then it aspects the midpoint, and continues in a quincunx to progressed Saturn from the summer of 1986 to mid-1988. Progressed Mars reaches the progressed mean South node of the Moon by the fall of 1987.
There are always some harmonious and some stress aspects in every chart, but these patterns seem to me to indicate a need for extra care and practicality in handling our financial affairs. The progressed Moon is often a key to important months during aspects which last two years or more. Periods which stand out in this chart include the spring of 1985 when the progressed Moon will cross Pluto-MC, squaring the natal Ascendant and Uranus and, in the summer, opposing natal “Russia” and progressed “America.” Readers will remember that we had already noted the spring of 1985 as the time the progressed Moon was conjunct natal Saturn in the U.S. Declaration Chart set for 9:36 A.M. EST. The Moon continues to the conjunction with progressed Mars in the Declaration chart in the summer of 1985. We have to consider these patterns as possible keys to a serious confrontation with Russia (the country, not the asteroid) during the late 1980s and early 1990s. People complain less about poverty if patriotism is invoked or life itself is threatened by an external enemy. Since the military escalation is a serious drain on financial resources that might have built houses and repaired roads and schools or fed people, the chart may be symbolizing a mixture of military and financial challenge in the world.
Another peak Moon period again matches the times selected by the chart for the Declaration of Independence. Progressed Moon opposes natal Saturn and progressed Russia and squares progressed Sun in the winter of 1986-7. It opposes progressed Saturn and squares progressed Venus in the spring of 1987. Progressed Ascendant also reaches the opposition to natal Vesta in the eighth house in the spring of 1987. Challenges clearly involve the handling of power, whether the primary focus is joint resources including money and debts, or whether a more serious military power struggle is underway. By the fall of 1989, the progressed MC reaches the opposition to natal Sun but the conjunction with Jupiter a year earlier could initiate a change in the governmental system. When two planets are closely in aspect in the natal chart, they tend to be in a permanent association so that an aspect to one may indicate activity for both. Letter ten in our alphabet (Saturn, MC and Capricorn) symbolizes the executive branch of the government while letter eleven is the legislature in a democracy. The strong involvement of these factors in this period seems to me to suggest some major changes in our governmental structure. Certainly, the whole picture is not negative. The progressed MC will conjunct progressed and then natal Jupiter while progressed Venus and then Sun trine Jupiter. With faith in and guidance from a Higher Power, with willingness to work and to cooperate, we could build a new and better world for all. Astrology shows us the issues. Humans create the destiny.
Our second important chart for which we have the time of Roosevelt’s signature is the Social Security Act on Aug. 14, 1935. Besides the well-known retirement annuities, this law provided federal aid for the aged in general, aid for blind or crippled individuals, aid to dependent children, and unemployment insurance. It is hard for young people to conceive a world without these supports, yet they were instituted in the lifetime of many of us and they are under attack by some of the wealthy individuals who resent the taxes which provide the aid. A major revision of the Social Security system was carried out in 1982 to provide for its obligations for our increasing number of retired Americans, but many experts feel that before long it will again have difficulty meeting the demands that will be made on it.
A focus on the financial area is even clearer in this chart than in the Bank Bill. Jupiter, ruler of the Ascendant, and Mars, the natural ruler, are both in Scorpio. Saturn, another ruler of the first house (with Capricorn and Aquarius both in the first house) is in the second house while Uranus, the other ruler of the first house Aquarius is in Taurus. Sun, Pallas, Mercury, Ceres, and Neptune are all in the eighth house. The Moon is in the second house. The natural rulers of Taurus and Scorpio, Venus and Pluto, are both in aspect to the Ascendant; Venus with a square and Pluto with a quincunx, emphasizing the attention to the area of financial security. Uranus in the fourth house and Pluto in Cancer add more emphasis on security issues, while Pluto’s conjunction with the South node of the Moon points to lessons in the sharing of resources. The chart is strongly water and earth, the security elements, though the Leo-Aquarius axis is also important, partly indicative of the concern with children which is central in the Law.
For those who share my fascination with the new asteroids, “Russia” is at 13 degrees of Cancer, on the U.S. Sun in our Declaration of Independence chart. By 1986, the period which I am watching so closely, progressed “Russia” is conjunct the eighth house cusp. We could read that as financial pressure or as a more serious form of power struggle. The natal position of the asteroid “America” is less than a degree from Neptune, fitting the idealism that sought to help the helpless and led to the Act. Ceres is also close, supporting the concern with children. “America” and Ceres have remained close through the years, reaching 3 Libra by 1986, holding a one degree orb conjunction and just starting a quincunx to progressed Uranus in the fourth house. In the fall of 1986, progressed Moon squares Ceres-”America”, forms a trioctile to natal Sun and an octile to progressed Ascendant which is opposite the Sun and square progressed Jupiter. The Moon will also be octile progressed Jupiter. On the harmony side, the Moon trines Uranus. Through 1986-7 the progressed Sun is trioctile the natal Moon so the winter of 1986-7 is especially important when the double Sun-Moon aspect is present. Remember that they are opposite each other in the natal chart, showing a challenge in the integration of personal money and possessions with joint resources and pleasures.
The patterns just described are mostly fixed signs, planets, or houses, pointing to a focus on power, possessions, or pleasures in some form. Other aspects include progressed MC square progressed Venus in the eighth house and natal Saturn-progressed Vesta in the second house. Progressed Mars is still in the trioctile to progressed Pluto, square natal Neptune, and is just reaching the exact square to natal “America” in Dec. 1986. Progressed East Point (an auxiliary Ascendant indicating personal action) is conjunct progressed Saturn and octile-trioctile the natal mean nodes of the Moon. In 1988, progressed Mercury makes a station and turns retrograde. The focus on letter ten (MC, Saturn, tenth house) seems strong enough to suggest another time of legal changes in the Social Security Act but of course there are many forms that change could take. One wonders at times whether more than a handful of humans will ever approach the positive potential of our Piscean Age, truly caring when their fellow humans are suffering. Mostly we are still working on that Scorpio lesson of learning to share the planet without destroying it or each other.