July 2, 1776: Day of Decision
As most of our readers know, since February of 1982 I have been working with my own rectification for the horoscope of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. The time I am using (9:36 A.M. EST) fits the records which state that the Congress met at 9 A.M., considered one minor item of business, then took up the Declaration to make minor changes in wording, after which the group voted to publish the document. A variety of other items of business were handled after the decision on the Declaration and before noon, so we can assume that the crucial vote occurred some time around 9:30 to 10 A.M. We do not know whether the Chairman, John Hancock, signed the document then or later, so we might have two charts for the same day; one for the decision on final wording and the vote by the whole Congress, and a later time for a signature. The chart for 9:36 (given in Eastern Time for our convenience though we know the group would have operated on local mean time), has had highly appropriate aspects for all of the U.S.A. major events, and when calculated for other areas of earth, the planets also have appropriate aspects to the local angles. I am convinced that this chart is a primary one for the United States as an independent country.
In spite of my satisfaction with the July 4 chart, I am also convinced that subsidiary charts can be useful, and I have wanted to look for a possible time for a chart on July 2, 1776. An article from Julian Armistead of New York precipitated an effort to find a July 2 chart that would also fit the events of our history. Julian’s article follows, with my appreciation both to Julian and to NCGR which is publishing his article in the fall 1985 issue of their Journal.
It’s July Second. Happy Birthday, U.S.A. by Julian Armistead
Yes, July 2nd. But, before I make the case, let me applaud the spirit of Michael Baigent’s article on the Sibly chart for the U.S.A. which appeared in the Spring 1985 issue of the NCGR Journal (Vol. 4, No. 1).
Here is a sensible piece of scholarship. No polemics about astrology’s exploding, about its revolutionizing science, business, education, politics, economics and racial, sexual, work and international relations. No genies popping out of bottles. Baigent presents simple, straight forward, documented historical evidence. He does not claim that Sibly had THE TRUE CHART. He simply points out that, albeit a specific source is absent, Sibly’s chart is the earliest we know and Sibly’s connections with sea-faring Masons made it possible for him to have learned something factual about the matter.
In that spirit of documented historical evidence and with an awful lot of good luck.
Recently, my interest in Mundane astrology has been piqued. And that, of course, leads directly into needing a good chart for the U.S.A. But... Well... There are just too many arguments. So, I shrugged and tried to forget about it.
Then I picked up “A Pocket History of the United States” by Allan Nevins and Henry Steele Commager. (7th ed. Washington Square Press, 1981). On page 84, I ran across this: “As June arrived (1776)...Richard Henry Lee moved a resolution for independence, which John Adams seconded....(and) which Congress adopted on July 2 and proclaimed on July 4, 1776.”
But there was no elaboration or citation of evidence for this statement. Perhaps a smarty-pants, pedantic technicality. So I passed on to other thoughts—until a day or two later when I wondered if there was a bibliography in the Nevins and Commager book. Yes, there is and in it I found “The Declaration of Independence by Carl Becker (Knopf, 1966).”
So off to the History Division of Mid-Manhattan library in New York I went. The very opening sentence of Chapter 1 of Becker reads, “It is often forgotten that the document which we know as the Declaration of Independence is not the official act by which the Continental Congress voted in favor of separation from Great Britain.”
And Becker gives a citation—the “Journals of Congress.”
Needless to say, I was beginning to get very excited.
And so across Fifth Avenue I go to the venerable, lion guarded New York Public Library. In due course, I carried my “special permission” stamped book request to the rare books room to be admitted through its pair of grilled and locked doors.
What I examined was the “Journals of Congress. Containing the proceedings from January 1, 1776 to January 1, 1777. Published by order of Congress. Volume II. York-Town: (Pennsylvania) Printed by John Dunlap. M, DCC,LXXVII.”
What I read on page 239 was this. On July 2nd Congress considered four letters, issued three orders, and then considered the resolution “...which was agreed to as follows:
Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, Free and Independent States.”
What I read was not the original hand-written notes of that meeting of the Continental Congress. What I read was a transcript printed in 1778. Nevertheless, it is difficult to deny this documentary evidence. But corroboration would be nice to have.
Again my mind came to a stop. The prospect of searching diaries and letters and records of our founding fathers was more than I could easily approach.
A day or two later, I recalled Joanna Shannon’s having told me of reading John Adam’s letters to his wife Abigail. He had written every day and sometimes twice a day and he had told her all the happenings and all the gossip of the goings on in Philadelphia.
So back to the library I went where I found: “The Book of Abigail and John, Selected letters of the Adams Family, 1762-1784, Edited by Butterfield, Friedlander, and Kline; Harvard University Press, 1975.”
Therein, on page 139, is a letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams from Philadelphia dated July 3, 1776. “Yesterday the greatest Question was decided, which ever was debated in America.... A Resolution was passed without one dissenting Colony ‘that these united Colonies, are...free and independent States.’”
In a continuation or perhaps a second letter of the day to Abigail, John Adams says (p.142), “The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. —I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival.”
The Resolution of Independence was agreed on July 2nd. In the mind of John Adams that was the great day to celebrate.
But what of the Declaration we know? It was hung up in committee on July 2nd (Journals, p.239) and on July 3rd (Journals, p.240), but was agreed to on July 4th (Journals, pp.240-46).
If the famous Declaration of July 4th does not establish the birth moment of the United States, what is it? What does it do?
Becker offers a judgment that sounds as if he had read John Adams. “...the primary purpose of the Declaration was not to declare independence, but to proclaim to the world the reasons for declaring independence. It was intended as a formal justification of an act already accomplished.” (Becker p.5)
In his July 3rd letter to Abigail, John Adams says, “You will see in a few days a Declaration setting forth the Causes, which have impell’d Us to this mighty Revolution, and the Reasons which will justify it, in the Sight of God and Man.” (Butterfield et al p. 139.)
What took place on July 4th was an agreement to the wording of a document which rationalized what had taken place in fact on July 2nd.
In light of this, the “irregularities” in signing of the Declaration, to which Michael Baigent has called our attention, make more sense. De facto we were independent with the acceptance of the resolution on July 2nd. The signing of the “...Reasons which will justify it, in the sight of God and Man” was simply pro forma.
John Adams was there. He was a prime mover in the United States coming into independent existence. His record of the event was written only one day after the event. It supports the official Journals of Congress. July 2nd is when the Continental Congress agreed to independence. Solid evidence to the contrary is hard to imagine.
Baigent, understandably unfamiliar with the evidence here presented, examined the validity of July 4th’s being the correct date. One argument he offered may still persuade many. “The fact too that this date remains the mythologized and celebrated date for contemporary Americans adds weight to the assertion (that the 4th is the key date despite some looseness concerning the signing of the document). (NCGR Journal, Vol. 4, No. 1, p.44)
And I expect that documentary evidence not withstanding some will swear by the Holy Truth of the mythologized Fourth of July.
And why not? It’s a free country, as we decided a couple of hundred years ago—on July 2nd.
As to the time of day? I hope to have some thoughts about that also. To be continued.
Continued by Zip Dobyns, who couldn’t just stop with the preceding. A follow-up letter from Julian indicates that he has continued to search the records for a clue concerning the time of the decision, but so far without results. As already indicated, I turned to rectification to explore for a possible time for a working chart on July 2, and the following is a tentative candidate. Any rectification must be considered highly tentative until it has been tested for years, so please join in testing it. I had considered the possibility of a chart for July 2 since Carolyn Britton sent me photo copies of the Journals quoted by Julian, but as always, fitting the effort in my schedule was a problem. Julian’s letter was the straw that pushed me into taking the time and making the effort.
I first tested a late afternoon chart with Uranus conjunct the Descendant. Such a chart would be very similar to the one promoted by Barry Lynes, since only the Moon would change radically in charts two days apart for approximately the same time. However, the angles did not work out adequately when progressed for some of our major events. In light of the Journals and letters quoted by Julian, we can assume that the action occurred in the middle to late afternoon. It has been customary for Congress to adjourn at 4 P.M., so, unless they ran late, a reasonable time for the crucial vote might have been between 3 and 4 P.M. A chart set for 3:43 P.M. EST (again, set in our time zones for our convenience) has given me the best results to date. The MC positions for Philadelphia and Washington, DC fall close to the East Points in my chart for July 4. The degree of the Washington MC also conjuncts the Ascendant of the original chart for the New York Stock Market, and is the Ascendant for George Bush. The Ascendants (natal and local) fall in the degrees that have proved so important in the progressions for the July 4 chart; 22-23 degrees of Scorpio. Also, that Ascendant fills in a fixed cross in the Stock Market chart, opposite natal Mercury in Taurus, square natal Pluto in Aquarius and progressed Uranus in Leo.
The test for any chart involves finding appropriate aspects from natal or progressed angles to natal or progressed planets at the times of major events. There is never enough time to do a really adequate job of checking, but I ran charts for our wars and presidential deaths, looking at the “normal” progressed angles which move about a degree a year, and also at the quotidian angles which move about one degree a day so they allow fine tuning. So far, the chart looks pretty good, but I am not as certain of its reliability as I am of the July 4 chart.
I also found many interesting results when I re-located the chart to other geographic area where we have had triumphs and challenges. For example, the Sun is conjunct the IC, opposite the MC, in Teheran where our power and dignity were challenged. In Tokyo, we have Saturn conjunct the IC, Moon and Pluto conjunct the Descendant, and Mercury conjunct the Ascendant. Neptune is conjunct our IC in Manila, Philippine Islands, a scene of both defeat and later triumph and current concern. The south node of the Moon is on the IC in Mexico City. Uranus in conjunct the IC on a line that runs through Berlin, Rome, and Tripoli, Libya. We fought the Germans in two world wars, the Italians in one, and the pirates of Tripoli were among our first opponents after we became a nation while Khadafi, the current Libyan dictator, is thought to be behind much of the recent terrorism directed at Americans, including the tragic deaths on the Egyptian plane hijacked while en route to Cairo. Mars is conjunct the IC in Pretoria, South Africa, and Leningrad, birthplace of Russian communism. It is interesting that some of our strategically militarily important metals are found primarily in these two countries.
Shifting our attention to the Ascendant axis, we can note that Mars is on the Ascendant in Hanoi, North Vietnam, the South Node of the Moon is on the Ascendant in Berlin, the Moon is rising in London fitting our shifting relationships as we swung from family to opponent to family again in our dealings with England. Mercury is closely conjunct the Descendant in London. The Sun is on the Ascendant in Peking, China. Ceres is rising in Cairo, with Neptune conjunct the Descendant. (The variance in the language is due to the use of two different coordinate systems. When a planet is described as conjunct one of the angles, we are using zodiacal longitude. When a planet is described as rising or culminating, we are using the equatorial system, measuring around the earth’s equator.) Many other aspects might be mentioned, including Pluto rising in Bonn, West Germany, conjunct the Ascendant in Paris, France, and conjunct the Descendant in Wellington, the capital of New Zealand. We have recently had a falling-out with New Zealand over our atomic warships, while we are still maintaining military cooperation with Australia where we have Jupiter conjunct the Ascendant in their capital, Adelaide. There is more, but enough has been included to give the picture.
Does the chart itself fit our state of mind at the time? Pluto, ruler of the Scorpio Ascendant, is closely conjunct the Moon, in Capricorn in the second house, opposite Mercury. Sun, Venus, and Jupiter share Cancer and the eighth house with Mercury, emphasizing the concern over power and possessions. It was a tax that helped start the revolution! With Jupiter, ruler of the Sagittarius in the first house, and Mars, natural ruler of the first house, both in the houses of other people (7 and 8), there is a clear sense of having to be on guard lest we be dominated by others. Neptune in the tenth house fits our aspirations to reach the power position ourselves. We wanted control over our own finances and general power structure. We were already at war with England, with Mars square Neptune and Uranus square the MC as keys to a contest over ideas and equality, suggested by the air emphasis of the sign of Gemini and the planet, Uranus. But Neptune also was widely trine Vesta in the sixth house and Moon-Pluto in the second house, all in earth signs and houses, showing we had the capacity to handle the material world. The Sun square to Saturn was another key to our struggle against the establishment. The aspect became exact shortly after we made our statement to the world on July 4.
All but our newest readers know about my fascination with the new asteroids, the minor or small planets. I was intrigued to discover, after deciding that this time of 3:43 P.M. was promising, that Atlantis was close to an opposition to the Ascendant. If its position and the chart’s time (two big “if”s) are accurate, natal Atlantis is exactly conjunct our Washington, DC Descendant. Other interesting aspects include natal America at 27 Libra square the Moon-Pluto conjunction and Russia on our Jupiter. Our mutual lack of faith (fear) has cost us dearly as the two super-powers amass nuclear weapons which we hope no one will ever use and children starve. I am not going to bore you by quoting progressed aspects for our historical events, but suggest that you consider the chart with a large grain of salt and keep an eye on it, along with the July 4 and Constitution charts. I will just comment that this year and most of next (1986), if the chart is right we have progressed Ascendant opposite progressed America across Cancer-Capricorn, second-eighth houses. In the late spring and early summer of 1986, progressed Moon will be octile the Ascendants (natal and local in Washington, DC), and trine south node, progressed Sun, Uranus, and Antivertex, quincunx the IC and Ceres, and square the Vertex axis. The picture seems less clear than the one we see in the July 4 and Constitution charts, but it does confirm an interesting time. By the early 1990s, the period that seems to me to call for special care, the progressed Ascendant would reach the opposition to natal Moon-Pluto.
I’m sure astrologers will continue to have their “favorite” charts, whether for our Declaration of War against England in 1775, for one of the many charts on July 4, 1776, or for July 2, 1776. We could also use charts set for the end of the war, for the Paris Peace Treaty, for the first session of Congress, for Washington’s inauguration, and many more. The chart for the Constitution will always be a useful one as long as we function within that framework. In the experimenting that I have been doing with the charts of other countries, a Declaration of Independence announced to the world seems highly important. I have found more appropriate aspects in a chart set up for the Philippine Islands’ Declaration in 1898 than in a chart set for the actual day they received independence from the U.S. on July 4, 1947. Colombia is another example. They celebrate July 20 as their Independence Day, when a Supreme Council on Independence was formed in what is now Caracas, Venezuela. The group was formed in July 1810, and Colombia did not really achieve independence until after the battle of Boyaca in 1819. Later, four countries were carved out of that original New Granada, as Venezuela, Ecuador, and finally Panama split off. In spite of that long prologue to the establishment of Colombia as a separate and independent country, that original chart seems to work, set for the date when the intent to be independent was formulated and expressed publicly. Some day, I hope to write a book on just the various charts which might prove useful for the U.S. Until then, the quest continues.