The Return of Halley

Zip Dobyns

Humans have watched the sky for a long time. If Marshak is right, stone-age scratches on reindeer bones marked the phases of the Moon. Hunters, 20,000 years ago, noticed the correspondences between the sky and the affairs of earth; perhaps between the phases of the Moon and fertility cycles in animals and humans.

Most of the heavenly panorama presents regular cycles which can be predicted with great precision. Comets once seemed to be an exception to this regularity. They blazed out intermittently, and were regarded by most early observers as a warning signal of coming trouble. In his book, Comet, Carl Sagan mentions a Chinese list of disasters blamed on comets by Li Ch’un Feng, living between 602 and 667 A.D. He also quotes an Advent sermon by Martin Luther: “The heathen writes that the Comet may arise from natural causes; but God creates not one that does not foretoken a sure calamity.” For various people, comets have been associated with famine, war, pestilence, and the death or loss of power of leaders. Sagan writes that the Chinese listed at least 338 separate comets between about 1400 B.C. and 100 A.D. They only missed one return of Halley’s comet since 240 B.C., but presumably did not know that the different sightings were of the same comet.

Modern astronomy has discovered that the formerly unpredictable “apparitions” are actually as cyclical as the rest of the varied movements we watch in the sky. Though some comets may pass through the solar system only once, most have very elongated orbits which bring them back after periods of some years. Several comets return every four years. Halley’s circuit takes 75 to 76 years for a round trip from the edges of the solar system to a near approach to the Sun. Astronomy provides us with increasingly accurate positions for the objects sharing our solar system and beyond. Astronomy denies that the world has meaning, so they stop with the discovery of the material composition, the location, and the speed of the objects in the sky. Astrology starts where astronomy leaves off, gratefully accepting the information on location and speed which permits future predictions of the patterns in the sky, and then continuing on to discuss the meaning of the patterns as we express them in our lives on earth. Traditional astrology, as Sagan pointed out, associated comets with tragedy. The psychological-spiritual approach to astrology suggests that if they are confirmed as signals of coming change and challenges, self-aware and integrated people will handle the situation with skill.

Before we attempt to predict the future, it is necessary to study the past. Halley’s comet, named for the man who recognized it as the same comet returning periodically, has been noted and described on each of its returns for over 2,000 years. Interested students can obtain the dates of each return, when it reached perihelion (its closest approach to the Sun) along with a gold mine of additional useful information from the Halley Ephemeris published by Astro Computing. Order it from ACS Publications, P.O. Box 16430 , San Diego, CA 92116-0430. For the small sum of $2 plus postage, you get Halley’s perihelion dates back to 1404 B.C. to check against history, to see what happened at or soon after its passage through our solar system. You also get a complete ephemeris from before Halley’s last approach in 1909 through 1996; including one complete orbit for the comet. The ephemeris starts with 1901, and positions for most years are given at ten-day intervals, but the years of close approach, 1909-1910 and 1985-1986, offer daily positions. Dates and times for sign ingresses and for shifts to retrograde or direct are also given for the same time interval. Astrology has never before been given such a tool to really explore the possible meanings of our most famous comet!

Among the historical associations listed for Halley in Sagan’s book are the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. after a Halley visit in 66 A.D., (the war actually started in 66); the defeat of Attila the Hun in 451; the Norman conquest of England in 1066; and the Turkish threat to invade Europe in 1456. It would seem that astrologers in the past tended to blame any trouble or threat on the most recent comet, much as they tended to blame things on the most recent eclipse. Whether it is appropriate to link events occurring years later is open to question. As in the case of the fall of Jerusalem, Halley’s 1910 visit preceded the first World War by four years, but preliminary conflicts began in 1910 and spread from Russia and China, to the Balkans, and finally engulfed most of Europe. A good many heads of state fell during the interval of 1910 to 1918. It will be interesting to see whether the coming decade produces similar alterations in the rulers of the world. In view of the frequency of military coups in the modern world, we don’t need comets to predict such turnovers, so if Halley does carry that meaning, the changes in the next few years would have to be truly dramatic. Astrology is a pragmatic study. We learn by observing the correspondences between the patterns in the sky and the events on earth. With an accurate ephemeris for Halley, the door is open to much new learning in the next few years.

In the meantime, what can be suggested as possible clues to these years? Individuals can, of course, watch the passage of Halley as it forms aspects to their personal horoscopes. But for those who are curious about the world, we can watch the horoscopes of countries, world leaders, and tools used in mundane astrology such as ingress charts when the Sun enters the cardinal signs. We can also pay special attention to the dates that are important in Halley’s orbit. The latter would include any station, when the comet appears to change direction from the earth’s point of view, either to go direct or retrograde, its closest approaches to earth and to the Sun, etc. We can also note its position when there have been important events on earth, to see whether it was aspecting the charts of countries or leaders. Those lucky persons with ample time can examine a great many potentially meaningful horoscopes, but we can at least start with our own country and leaders.

Our first challenge is the fact that astrologers are in profound disagreement over the birth times for both President Reagan and for our Declaration of Independence. As our readers know, on the basis of extensive personal work, as well as historical and family records, I think that President Reagan’s MC and the Declaration Ascendant are both at 11 Virgo. I came to that conclusion in 1982, and was impressed when the recent tragic explosion of the Challenger Shuttle occurred with the Moon at 11 Virgo. Our Constitution MC is just under the same degree, at 10 Virgo 53. If those charts are valid clues to our situation, there are some interesting connections to Halley.

An important event in the U.S. in early 1985 was the inauguration of President Reagan and Vice President Bush for their second terms of office. On inauguration day, January 20, Halley was exactly conjunct the tenth house natal Sun in the horoscope of George Bush. The comet’s first station in 1985 was on March 25 when it turned direct at 13 Gemini, quincunx Reagan’s Jupiter and south node of the Moon as well as his Part of Death, a yod pattern if my birth time for him is accurate. It was also opposite his East Point which is similar to another Ascendant, and more widely square his Virgo MC and his Pallas in Pisces. It was exactly conjunct the midpoint of MC-Pallas. Reagan’s colon cancer was discovered in June, but one wonders when in that stressful spring it started.

Halley’s next station occurred on September 21, 1985, when it went retrograde at 3 Cancer, opposite Reagan’s natal Mars and quincunx his progressed Ascendant if my time for him is accurate. Halley crossed the plane of the earth’s path around the Sun, the ecliptic, on November 9, 1985. It had returned to 12 Gemini at the time, repeating the aspects from its September station. By November 18, it reached its opposition to the Sun (from Earth’s point of view) and was at 25 Taurus, also opposing Reagan’s progressed MC and coming to the opposition to his natal Ascendant as well as to the Ascendant of our Constitution and to the conjunction to Bush’s natal MC. November 27 marked Halley’s closest approach to earth on its journey toward the Sun. By this time, it was in 1 Taurus, conjunct Reagan’s natal Saturn and progressed Sun.

On January 1, 1986, Halley reached one astronomical unit from the Sun. An A.U. is the distance between the earth and the Sun. Astronomers use it as a measuring unit in the solar system, hence its inclusion as a meaningful point. Halley was back to 5 Pisces at the time, square Reagan’s progressed Venus, octile natal Mercury and trioctile natal Neptune. (An octile is also called a semisquare and a trioctile is a sesquisquare. I prefer the other names since they are easier to say and tell you the nature of the aspect; an eighth and three/eighths of the circle). Halley reached its conjunction with the Sun on February 5 and its perihelion on February 9, 1986, at 17 and 15 Aquarius. Reagan’s natal Sun is 16 Aquarius, at the midpoint of those two important dates. The patterns certainly suggested that Reagan would be in the limelight, and February 7 marked Dictator Baby Doc’s departure from Haiti on a U.S. plane and the Philippine election which led ultimately to Dictator Marcos’ departure from the Philippines on a U.S. plane.

By March 10, Halley will again cross the plane of the earth’s path with a position of 0 Aquarius, square Reagan’s natal Saturn and progressed Sun. On March 20, it passes beyond one astronomical unit from the Sun at 23 degrees of Capricorn, conjunct the asteroid Atlantis and at the midpoint of natal Mercury-Uranus in Reagan’s chart. (As regular readers know, I have found the asteroid Atlantis consistently prominent when there are power struggles, especially involving nuclear energy or weapons). April 11 marks Halley’s closest approach to earth on its return trip toward the outer reaches of our solar system, at which time it will be in 26 Scorpio, conjunct Reagan’s natal Ascendant and progressed MC, our Constitution’s Ascendant, and opposite Bush’s MC. It will be opposite the Sun, as seen from earth, on April 17 at 27 Libra, square Reagan’s Uranus and the Declaration Pluto, but trine Reagan’s Pluto. It makes another station and goes direct on June 6, 1986, just under 11 Virgo. For a full month, from mid-May to mid-June, it will remain conjunct the MCs of Reagan and the Constitution and the Ascendant of the Declaration of Independence. Is Halley trying to tell us something? It seems likely. Check your horoscope files to see whether you can find anyone with such important aspects for every major stage in the Halley orbit. Before we leave that May-June station, we might remember that George Bush has natal Atlantis at 11 Sagittarius, and progressed Jupiter at 10 Sagittarius, square the Halley 10 to 11 Virgo.

There is one additional station for Halley in 1986, on December 2 when the comet goes retrograde at 1 Libra 58. Again, it will remain in the same area for an extended time, at 0 to 1 Libra from late October to early January, 1987. The horoscope of the Federal Reserve, manager of our money in the U.S., has an MC of 0 Aries, Pluto and the East Point (an auxiliary Ascendant) at 0 Cancer, 0 Libra on the IC, and the Sun at 1 Capricorn. I had already picked out the latter part of 1986 as an important period with a financial challenge for the U.S. since the progressed Moon will be conjunct the progressed Saturn in Scorpio in the Declaration of Independence chart. The progressed Moon was square natal Sun and then conjunct natal Saturn in the second house in the spring of 1985 when we had the Ohio and Maryland bank crises. People lost their faith in the state insurance companies for the banks at that time, and moratoria had to be put on some banks. Will the threat to faith involve the Federal insurance program in late 1986? Both of the Constitution charts for Canada have aspects involving progressed Moon and Saturn at the same time; a conjunction and an opposition. Canada’s financial situation is very tied to the U.S. picture. Paul Volcker, head of the Federal Reserve, has a Jupiter-Uranus conjunction at 0 to 2 Aries, his progressed MC will be 2 Libra, and his progressed East Point at 2 Capricorn.

Of course, we are only looking at a fraction of the picture when we single out one object like Halley. Volcker also will have progressed Mars conjunct natal Atlantis in Scorpio in his first house. One of the correspondences for Scorpio is to joint resources, including debts. Mars will also oppose Chiron, which I consider a key to faith similar to Jupiter. Will a debt cartel finally form in Latin America in late 1986, threatening the world’s banking structure? Or will the cutbacks required by Gramm-Rudman be the final straw to push the U.S. into the coming depression? Volcker has said that he would not preside over another 1929, but there are limits to the power of government and money manipulation. Somewhere, there is always a point of no return. Will this fall mark the crash of the stock market which is now possible after the recent price increases? I see 1986 as the pivot year, and Halley is just one of our keys to the importance of decisions and actions taken this year.

Many other leaders might be included in this survey. For some, such as Donald Regan, head of the White House staff, we have no birth time. But even without a birth time, we can see that Regan has his nodes of the Moon in 12 Gemini-Sagittarius while his progressed Mercury will be 10 Pisces during 1986. Gorbachev, the current Russian leader, is another person for whom we have no time. We can suspect that he has Mars rising in Cancer in light of his appearance and the large red birthmark on his forehead. Even without his time of birth, we can know that his natal Sun is in either 10 or 11 degrees of Pisces, hence opposite the Halley station in May-June. Initially, Reagan and Gorbachev were supposed to have their second meeting in June, but it has now been postponed until later in the summer. If the emphasis we are seeing on Reagan’s chart is a clue that he is one of the leaders who might be retired from power, new plans might be needed. Gorbachev also has natal Vesta, a key to work, in 0 Capricorn, with progressed Venus, ruler of Taurus, in 0 Aries, to meet the November-December station of Halley at 1 Libra.

We can’t make a strong case to connect the Challenger explosion to Halley. Unless we go to midpoints or unusual aspects, Halley had only an octile to Neptune which was nearly 1 1/2 degrees from exact, and a 3 degree orb conjunction with Jupiter. But the Halley position at 21 Aquarius was conjunct Weinberger’s natal Uranus in the same degree, and as Secretary of Defense, Weinberger was not happy with the delay of military launches. Weinberger’s natal Moon at 8 Virgo, progressed Jupiter 10 Gemini, progressed Ascendant 12 Pisces, suggest he will be involved in the May-June action. Jack Kemp, one of the potential contenders for the Republican nomination for President, has natal Saturn on his MC at 9 Pisces, so Halley will oppose them, while his East Point and progressed MC in Washington, DC are at 12 Gemini, his natal Moon is wide at 13 Sagittarius, his progressed Sun is just starting to cross his IC at 9 Virgo, his Washington progressed East Point is also 9 Virgo, and his progressed Part of Death is 10 Sagittarius. As he gears up for the power struggle for the Presidency, his progressed Atlantis has just started to conjunct his natal Sun, an aspect that will last some years.

Perhaps we should look at a few more charts of institutions. The original chart for the New York Stock Exchange goes back to 1792. If its noon time is accurate, the mean south node of the Moon is at 0 Aries in the eighth house; the true node at 2 Aries. 10 to 11 of the mutables seems less involved though Halley will be octile Neptune and trioctile Saturn. The DOW Jones Average was revised on October 1, 1928, and the market opened that morning with an MC of 9 Virgo 35, and East Point of 12 Sagittarius. The progressed Sun for the United Nations will be 11 Sagittarius, while the natal true nodes of the Moon are 1 Cancer-Capricorn. NATO was born with an Antivertex (another auxiliary Ascendant) at 11 Virgo. Transposing it to Moscow puts 11 Sagittarius on the Ascendant. Progressed Mercury will be 12 Gemini.

A different approach which was mentioned earlier looks at the cardinal ingress charts calculated for the capital of the country of interest. The Capricorn ingress of December 21, 1985, calculated for Washington, DC, has 14 Pisces 8 on the MC with Halley at 13 Pisces 40. If the Capricorn ingress is a valid key to government activity for a whole year, up to the next Capricorn ingress, the Halley station in late 1986 repeats the importance of government action at that time. Another interesting feature in the 1985 ingress was the asteroid Libya conjunct the Sun at 0 Capricorn, both opposite Pallas at 0 Cancer. The country, Libya, for which the asteroid was named, was certainly a center of attention within days after that ingress. Neptune, in the ingress chart, was 3 Capricorn with the Ascendant in Washington at 5 Cancer. The asteroid Atlantis was 5 Aries. Calculating the 1985 Capricorn ingress for Tripoli, the capital of Libya, puts Uranus just inside the fourth house, in a one-degree orb square to the Ascendant.

In the Aries ingress chart for March 20, 1986, Halley is conjunct the asteroid Libya at 22 Capricorn. It is also conjunct Reagan’s natal Atlantis and Mercury. The East point in Washington is 10 Virgo with Saturn at 9 Sagittarius trioctile the Moon at 24 Cancer. With Saturn opposite the U.S. Declaration Uranus (and MC in my version), and Jupiter square progressed Uranus from 6 Pisces; Mercury opposite natal U.S. Neptune and Uranus square it plus U.S. Mars completing a wide mutable grand cross; Moon conjunct U.S. Mercury (ruler of the Ascendant and MC in my version); Neptune opposite U.S. Jupiter; Pluto quincunx U.S. Uranus-MC; Mars square progressed U.S. Neptune; Venus opposite U.S. Saturn; we didn’t need Halley to tell us that we are going to have an interesting spring! We might say an interesting year if traditional astrology is accurate in considering the Aries ingress a key to the whole year up to the next Aries ingress.

There is more, but people get bored after reading paragraphs of aspects. This is clearly a Virgo year for the U.S. Three of the cardinal ingress charts set up for Washington have Virgo rising, and the other has Virgo in the first house with Leo on the Ascendant. But astrology just spells out the issues. Humans create the details. Virgo’s issue involves efficient functioning, whether in our jobs or in our bodies (health). There are plenty of areas for attention, including AIDS, a Scorpio-Virgo issue; unemployment, (especially among young blacks); farmers (other than agribusiness) and labor unions struggling for survival; increasing pollution from chemical spills to acid rain to radioactive waste that no one wants; a looming replay of 1929 brought on in part by the monstrous debt, both personal and government—a Scorpio issue, but connected to Virgo as wages are cut and people cannot buy what the wealthy are theoretically able to produce. The production is theoretical because many of the recipients of Reagan’s largesse are using their wealth for takeovers, mergers, and speculation such as has not been seen since the late 1920s which we are re-playing. Halley was not around in the late 1920s. I wonder if another comet visited us then? The replay of the 1930s depression shows in the similar aspects coming in our U.S. charts for the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. My advice for the last 4 years has been to get out of debt and to build support networks. People who have skills the society values, who are willing to work, and who help each other can come through.

Halley is at 11 Virgo for the Cancer ingress chart, between the Washington Antivertex and Ceres, a Virgo asteroid. Uranus is on the IC within one degree. Jupiter is on the Descendant within one degree. The Moon is in the fourth house, just over a one degree orb square to Jupiter and in a wider grand cross to all the angles, Jupiter, and Uranus. The asteroid Karl Marx is conjunct the IC while asteroid Siva squares the Ascendant, both within one degree orbs. They are both in Sagittarius between Uranus and Moon. Mercury is conjunct the Declaration Mercury opposite asteroid Libya. Mars is three degrees from Libya, trine the Ascendant and quincunx the MC. Faith is clearly an issue for the public. A great many people have put their faith in Reagan. What happens if he lets them down? His progressed Moon squares Jupiter, nodes, and natal Moon, is quincunx the MC and trioctile Pluto in May-June 1986. Jupiter and the south node are in Scorpio in his twelfth house opposite Moon-north node in the sixth house, and Pluto, ruling his Scorpio Ascendant, is quincunx the Ascendant. Vesta, a Virgo asteroid, is square natal Venus in Pisces and octile the eighth house Neptune, ruler of Pisces. With Pluto and Scorpio potential keys to the colon, Vesta and the sixth house keys to health, Jupiter, Pisces, Neptune, twelfth house associated with the liver, and water in general along with Saturn often connected to the illness, cancer, frequent medical checks are advisable.

The Libra ingress highlights finances, suggesting a strange mixture of confidence or inflation, implied by fire trines, along with anxiety. With Mars square the nodes and quincunx the Ascendant and Chiron, (a yod), tensions over military issues are also suggested. Libya seems to have retreated to the background, but Arabia is likely to be in center stage with the asteroid Arabia exactly on the Descendant in Washington. The country Arabia played the key role in the original oil price increases in 1973 which started the debt monster that is about to overtake us. As this is written in early March 1986, Arabia has been the key player to start the collapse of the oil prices. The Washington Ascendant in this Libra ingress chart is conjunct Psyche which is often associated with a feeling of helplessness. The asteroid America at 3 Libra, is close to the second house ingress Sun and square Neptune in the fifth house at 3 Capricorn.

The final cardinal ingress for the year in December 1986 has Halley still at 1 Libra, with Saturn just over one degree from the IC, Jupiter within a one degree orb square to the MC and just over a one degree orb opposition to the Ascendant, Mars in a one degree orb opposition to the Ascendant with Mercury in Sagittarius and Chiron in Gemini exactly square both Ascendant and Mars; a tight mutable grand cross again. Psyche is again on the Washington Ascendant, along with Apollo for the limelight. Asteroid Germania is on Chiron while Europa is on Jupiter-Mars-Descendant, and Iris in Sagittarius (the rainbow and hope?) squares the Ascendant from the fourth house, all further emphasizing the exact mutable grand cross. Uranus is widely involved a few degrees higher in Sagittarius. The mutable dilemma indicates concerns with faith, ethics, goals, etc. This is a mutable year for the world, a time to re-evaluate what is important, what we trust, where we want to go with our lives. If the newly calculated asteroids currently being investigated are valid tools, a number of countries, cities, and continents are involved in the mutable cross currents present in this Capricorn ingress chart. If we can return to the principles of the traditional work ethic along with willingness to share, we can improve the grade on our approaching report card. If we continue on our course of greed, the coming feedback period as Saturn and Uranus move into Capricorn in February 1988 will mark major changes in our structure of government such as we saw in the 1930s. Franklin Roosevelt had Saturn conjunct Vesta in early Taurus, and he spent his life trying to give the poor a chance. Ronald Reagan has Saturn and Vesta conjunct in early Taurus and he is doing his best to undo everything that Roosevelt accomplished. What will the next turn of the wheel of fortune offer? Reagan is said to believe in astrology, but I doubt that his astrologer has informed him about Halley.

There is always so much more that might be said, but time and space run out. In the end, we watch and learn as the patterns unfold.

Copyright © 1986 Los Angeles Community Church of Religious Science, Inc.

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