Asteroid-World Winter 1990
1989 was an incredible year! 1990 may not match it in dramatic change at whirlwind speed, but it might escalate into profound turmoil with several countries splintering into smaller ethnic/religious groups, sometimes with civil war. The country most at risk is the U.S.S.R. which might lose both its Balkan and its Asiatic Islamic Republics. (It currently includes 15 Republics in addition to regions with other types of political classifications). It is conceivable that the U.S.S.R. could eventually shrink to its original Russian homeland plus Siberia, though they will make a mighty effort to keep the Ukraine and Georgia, and Armenia would be well advised to hang on for protection against Azerbaijan.
I have been looking for a satisfactory chart for the U.S.S.R. for many years. In the spring of 1989, I began a more concerted effort, first collecting several pages of events in the history of the country after the Bolshevik Revolution in November 1917. I had previously gathered a variety of charts offered by several different astrologers and had done some preliminary testing of the charts against the country’s major events. But I could not find the source or the historic rationale for the horoscope which “worked” the best. I asked Farida, the visiting Russian psychologist-astrologer who spoke at UAC, which chart was favored by Russian astrologers. Unfortunately, her version just added another chart which did not give very good results when tested by progressed aspects between planets and angles for the major events.
My breakthrough came in mid January 1990 when I acquired still another chart for Revolutionary Russia from mundane astrologer Murray Steinman. Murray’s chart gave me aspects for the country’s events which seemed even more appropriate than the aspects in the chart for which I had no historical justification. Then, just two days later, Pearl Negrette, a Los Angeles friend who shares my fascination with applying astrology to the world and who is great at digging up material from libraries, brought me Trotsky’s History of the Russian Revolution. And there was the source of the chart which had previously seemed most promising as well as additional support for the Steinman time! Pearl also gave me the data for a chart used by Judy Johns, another local mundane astrologer, and it too looks promising. It is set for the original meeting which led to the initial union of five republics which became the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.). So I now have three charts for Russia which are all based on solid historical sources and which all seem to work moderately well, though I would give first place to the Steinman chart for 3 P.M.; second place to the 10:40 P.M. chart explained by Trotsky; and a somewhat more distant third place to the U.S.S.R. chart. The first two are both from November 7, 1917 (using our modern calendar), the first day of the successful Bolshevik takeover of Petrograd (English name St. Petersburg, current name Leningrad).
But even more exciting than having charts for the country is having a chart for its controversial and beleaguered leader — Gorbachev! In a telephone conversation with a mutual friend in Los Angeles, Farida reported that Mikhail Gorbachev has 11 Aries 33 on his Ascendant. Since this figure requires a birth time stated to the second, I have to assume that Farida rectified the time she was given by a “high official in Moscow,” or that we are using different coordinates for Gorbachev’s birthplace. I am reasonably sure that they were not recording birth times to the second in 1931 in small villages in Russia. But the chart “works” so well, I think it is very close to accurate.
None of our big atlases provided a town with the spelling given in two biographies of Gorbachev, but a town with a similar name is located in the proper area. Both of Gorbachev’s biographies list Privolnoye as his birthplace, and one says that it is in the Krasnogvardeisky district of Stavropol Krai, approximately 100 miles from the city of Stavropol near the northwestern border of the territory. The short biographical paragraph in Gorbachev’s own book Perestroika lists his birthplace as Privolnoe. We are using the coordinates for the town spelled Privol’nyy at 46 N 39 and 43 E 26 in the London Times Atlas. I am not sure that these coordinates are really accurate, but since Stavropol is 45 N 2 and 41 E 59, estimating 100 miles from that location suggests that we are at least “in the ballpark.” If the coordinates are off a little, the birth time will be slightly different from the 7:53:13 A.M. in zone -3 which the computer tells us is the time that will produce an Ascendant of 11 Aries 33.
The chart we are offering for Gorbachev does fit what we know of his life. He has almost a “natural” zodiac with most signs in their own houses, which makes it a little easier to integrate the conflicting sides of life, but he does have his share of conflict with a cardinal cross. I had originally speculated that he had Mars rising because of the red birthmark on his forehead, but an Aries Ascendant makes Mars a ruler “actually” as well as “naturally.” People consistently describe Gorbachev as exuding vitality and energy, which fits the rising Aries. His revolutionary handling of political power fits the rising Uranus, yet he has moved into the position of supreme power in one of the world’s largest countries, so his tenth house Saturn in Capricorn is highly appropriate. He is highly protective of and even secretive about his family, as is suggested by Jupiter and Pluto in Cancer in the fourth house. He had a single child, a common development with Mars or Aries or Sun or Leo in the fifth house. Juno in Pisces could indicate an adored wife, regardless of its house placement, but also, with his seventh house Libra, he respects her and treats her as an equal, which is almost unheard of in Russia. However, it is possible to make a case for many different charts if you limit yourself to character. Events in the life are more reliable as tools to either support or throw doubt on a given birth time.
Unfortunately, in spite of acquiring two biographies, several magazine articles, and additional material from Helen Clerf, another helpful library buff, I still do not have many precise dates of major events in Gorbachev’s life. I do have quite a few years in which there were major changes for him, and I plan to do more checking in the future. When Chernenko’s death opened the way for him to become General Secretary of the Communist Party on March 10, 1985, Gorbachev had his progressed (P) MC on Mercury just leaving the quincunx to Mars. His mentor, Andropov, who was responsible for much of Gorbachev’s rapid rise to power, had died just over a year earlier during the MC-Mars aspect which fits a personal separation from a “father figure.” When he became President, Gorbachev’s local P MC in Moscow was on the midpoint of his Ascendant/MC, carrying a similar meaning to a conjunction with both of these major angles. At the same time, his P local Ascendant was crossing his IC in Moscow, pointing to a major change in his role in the society accompanied by a change of residence. His P Moon was just past Mars in a quincunx to Mercury and to his Moscow natal MC, forming a yod which often marks a change in the life. P Sun was trine Neptune and just coming to a trine to the natal MC. If our birthplace coordinates are slightly in error, the Sun-MC aspect might be exact, or Gorbachev might have been born just a minute earlier which would also bring the aspect into the required one-degree-orb. He also had P Mars on natal Moon. Remember that the natal and P Moon depend on the time of birth much more than the other “planets.” Next to the angles of the chart, the Moon is our major tool for rectification.
Earlier events would have included P MC opposite Pluto during the upheaval of the German invasion of Russia when Gorbachev’s father was away in the army. Gorbachev went to Moscow State University in 1950 and graduated in 1955 with his P MC opposite P Mars. He met Raissa, his future wife, while at the University and began his moves to a series of positions of power soon after his graduation as his P MC was moving into Aquarius. His only child, a daughter, was born in 1956. His father died in 1976, and two years later he was promoted to a post in Moscow.
As I have previously written, “destiny” people tend to have a huge number of meaningful asteroid aspects, and Gorbachev is certainly playing a destiny role in the world. No matter how often it happens, I am still astonished when I find even the asteroids which were given personal names are found in high focus positions at appropriate times. Remember that only aspects which are exact within one degree are mentioned. Gorbachev’s natal Herberta (named for Herbert Hoover but applicable to George Herbert Walker Bush) is at 8 Aries 5. His progressed Michel (the French equivalent for Mikhail) was at 8 Aries 7 in late 1989 as the two men were meeting on a ship near Malta. P Michel has been square natal Azerbajdzhan in recent years and P Azerbajdzhan is conjunct natal Saturn square Gorbachev’s local Ascendant in Baku, the capital of the Republic to which Gorbachev sent troops on January 20, 1990. (The spelling of the Republic is simplified in our press, but the asteroid was named for it. We have a large number of asteroids named for geographic areas in Russia since Russian astronomers have discovered many of them and the discoverer has the right to name the new minor planet.) Gorbachev actually has a cluster of astrological factors on either his natal or P Saturn, including natal Fanatica, the south node of Pluto, P Vesta, both the natal and the local P eighth house cusps (associated with death among other meanings), P south node of Jupiter (Jupiter is a key to our judgments which are based on our faith), P Winchester (guns), P Belgica (Belgium is the center of the forming European Community with which Gorbachev would like to cooperate), and P Hidalgo (the Priest who led the first Mexican revolution). P Juno (partnership or power struggles) is on Gorbachev’s Baku Ascendant. His Baku MC at 11 Capricorn 12 is square his birthplace Ascendant at 11 Aries 33 if our birth information is accurate. His Baku East Point is on his natal Ascendant and his Baku Antivertex is at 8 Aries, conjunct Herbert and P Michel which were mentioned above.
I can’t begin to list all the relevant asteroids so will only mention a few highlights. Gorbachev has Russia, Juewa (star of China’s fortune) and Chiron all at 14 Taurus in his first house with P Jupiter sextile them. This combination opposes the close Sun-Ceres conjunction in the chart for the Russian revolution. Gorbachev’s P Uranus holds a long square to Vilnius, capital of Lithuania, the Republic which is likely to be the first to separate from the U.S.S.R. P Vilnius is quincunx Pluto in Cancer in the fourth house, picturing its separation from the Russian homeland and power. It is also octile Gorbachev’s Antivertex and P Venus which is a ruler of his first house Taurus, it just started an octile to his MC and it will eventually be octile his East Point.
Another cluster centers on Gorbachev’s Mercury at 29 Aquarius. Natally, Nemesis (who brought retribution to those who flouted the law) is on Riga (capital of Latvia which is likely to follow Lithuania into independence) which is on Walkure (the warrior maidens of German folklore) which is on Mercury and George. Gorbachev’s P MC had reached Mercury and George when he became head of the U.S.S.R. It is currently on P Karl Marx who may be “turning over in his grave” at what is happening to his dogma, and on natal Urania for the changing ideas and increasing freedom, including the freedom to practice astrology openly. It is also opposite Neptune and P Armenia as he tries to rescue the latter from the Azerbaijanis. On second thought, the Communists talked Karl Marx but practiced totalitarian control by a small elite. Marx might be pleased about some of what is happening. Returning to Gorbachev’s horoscope, P Moskva (Moscow) is now on his natal Mercury and George and opposite P Polana (Poland). His local (Moscow) P MC reached Nemesis about the beginning of 1989 and it will continue on over the rest of the cluster. It reached Walkure in time for the Baku military action. Nemesis, like Saturn, can indicate positive consequences as well as painful ones, and mediators in Riga are currently playing a helpful role in persuading Armenia and Azerbaijan to accept a cease fire.
Currently, as Gorbachev wrestles with the issue of a possible reunion of the two Germanies, his P Ascendant is conjunct P Alemannia (one name for the country) and opposite Germania (an alternate name)! You can see why I think this birth time is close to accurate. P Teutonia, the third equivalent for Germany, is slowly progressing over his natal Jupiter, but that would be there with any birth time. Gorbachev’s local (Moscow) P Ascendant is in 8 Cancer, square the 8 Aries collection of his Baku Antivertex, P Michel, and natal Herbert which were already mentioned, along with natal Czechoslovakia. His P Moon reached 8 Libra in time for the Baku military action. His P Moon is now approaching his Descendant for a change in public image and action, just in time for his second return of transiting Saturn. Nor does it look any easier ahead. P Mars holds a long opposition to P Atlantis (a classic key to power struggles) and P Sun is moving to make a T square to both within a couple of years. P Sun is square natal Moon from mid-1989 to mid-1991. P Washingtonia is opposite Gorbachev’s natal Sun for some years as we shift from enemies to Partners(?) and P America is still square his Ascendant, has just started a square to the P mean lunar nodes, and is approaching a square to Uranus. But we won’t leave Gorbachev’s chart without mentioning that he has a close natal conjunction between Eros and Raissa. His wife spells her name with one “s” but I think the cosmos did pretty well. Aren’t asteroids great?
As indicated above, the two horoscopes for the beginning of Bolshevik power during the revolution which have “worked” the best for me are both on November 7, 1917, using our modern calendar. (In Russia at the time, they were still using a calendar 13 days earlier, so their texts call it the October revolution.) November 7 is the official “independence” day celebrated in the country, as July 4 is for us, and I think that provides some support for that day though important stages occurred on successive days. According to Trotsky, the Petrograd Bolsheviks began their takeover of the town at 2 A.M. on the 7th. They occupied railroad stations, the lighting plant, munitions and food stores, waterworks, the telegraph station and post exchange, the state bank, big printing plants etc. Mostly, the small armed groups took over without a fight and they were able to disarm the government guards. A broadcast from Smolny, the Bolshevik headquarters, at 10 A.M. claimed victory for the revolutionaries, but Trotsky indicates that he considered this premature. By noon, the streets around the Mariinsky Palace were occupied by Bolshevik troops as the Pre-Parliament was just assembling for a meeting. Revolutionary soldiers and sailors entered the hall and told the deputies to leave at once, which they did quietly after a vote of protest.
By 2:35, the whole capital was in the hands of the rebels except for the Winter Palace where the Provincial Government (which had taken over after the abdication of the Czar) remained with some loyal forces. At 2:35, Trotsky opened an emergency session of the Petrograd Soviet (council) with an announcement in the name of the Military Revolutionary Committee that the Provisional Government no longer existed. According to the diary of Sukhanov (information from Murray Steinman), at 3 P.M. Lenin made his first public appearance, following Trotsky to outline the program of the revolutionaries which was to end in the victory of socialism. Lenin is considered the unquestioned “father” of the revolution, and the Petrograd Soviet was the main driving force which carried out the overthrow of the Provincial Government. A horoscope for 3 P.M. is one of the two best in my work so far. Russian clocks at the time were set for the meridian of Petrograd, so to get an accurate chart, you need to use local city time (LCT) for 30 E 15.
Revolutionary forces continued to collect in the area around the Winter Palace while additional defenders also made their way into the Palace throughout the afternoon. Sporadic shooting continued between attacking and defending forces, with heavier artillery being brought into play during the evening though it was mostly aimed high to threaten rather than destroy. Meanwhile, the Second Congress of Soviets had been conducting caucuses throughout the day and they began their formal meeting at 10:40 P.M. at Smolny, the Bolshevik headquarters. A chart set for this time also produces appropriate aspects for the country’s major events. Trotsky says that 390 out of the initial 650 voting delegates favored the Bolsheviks. The delegate count was up to 900 by the end of the Congress, and most of them had swung over to the Bolsheviks. The opposing groups who favored compromise and some form of democracy had mostly given up and left.
According to Trotsky, the Winter Palace forces capitulated and the members of the Provincial Government were arrested at 2:10 A.M. on the morning of November 8. This sounds like an appropriate time for a valid chart, but it does not work as well as the two mentioned above. Another logical chart would use the time when the Bolsheviks were actually voted into power by the Congress of Soviets. A telegram was read at 5:17 A.M. reporting army support for the Bolsheviks, and after some general rejoicing, Lunacharsky read a Proclamation of Bolshevik victory, power and plans which was endorsed by the Congress. Additional discussions of the details of the Proclamation followed, including an immediate end to the war that Russia was fighting with Germany and a distribution of land to the peasants. Then the meeting adjourned at 6 A.M. on the morning of November 8 to meet again that evening. We do not have an exact time for the Proclamation though at least three eye witnesses mention it and one says that the time was closer to 6 than to 5. After some work with major events, I would pick the time of around 5:35 A.M. as the best during that interval, but the chart is not as effective as the two already mentioned for November 7. Even though the surrender and the declaration of Bolshevik power sound like important steps, by early afternoon of the 7th. the Bolsheviks were actually in full control of all of Petrograd except for the Winter Palace. Lenin and the Petrograd Soviet actually carried out the revolution which I think accounts for the validity of the 3 P.M. chart, and the chart for the beginning of the Congress of Soviets just seems to work better than the time of the formal (legal?) endorsement of Bolshevik power by the Congress on the morning of November 8.
The Congress continued to meet through the night of November 8 and into the early morning of November 9. Another possible time for a chart would be for the appointment of the Central Executive Committee including Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin who became supreme dictator following Lenin’s strokes and death in 1923-4. Trotsky does not give a precise time for these Committee appointments, but implies it occurred not long before the meeting ended at 5:15 A.M. on November 9. A telegram describing the Bolshevik triumph was sent at that time, and some astrologers have used a chart set for that time. I am presenting this scenario so that any readers who have the time and the inclination can test a variety of charts. I haven’t seen anyone using the initial attack at 2 A.M. on November 7 but I did check it and found it less effective. Doris Doane prefers the 10 A.M. radio announcement of Bolshevik power from Smolny, but that chart also does not “work” for me. Glen Malek gives a time of 4:55 P.M. for Lenin’s speech which was printed in the New York Times newspaper but this may be when the newspaper got the new. The time differs from Sukhanov’s diary and Trotsky’s timetable, and does not “work” as well as the 3 P.M. chart. Moon Moore gives a time of 10:52 P.M., quoting the AFA as the source without further information. Troinsky, a German astrologer, used a time of 10:45 P.M. according to Charles Carter of England who also lists different times by astrologers Harmer and Hey. Manley Palmer Hall considered a speech by Trotsky at midnight, the beginning of November 8, to be the crucial moment. Michael Baigent puts the time of the Constitution of Power at 2:30 A.M. on November 8, but this seems to be the same event which three eye witnesses put between 5 and 6 A.M. Shades of our conflicted Declaration of Independence!
I will include the two charts which seem most effective in my work to date though I may only have space to discuss my preferred one. With our choices of many varieties of progressions, directions, returns, transits, geocentric and heliocentric viewpoints, etc., each astrologer has to use the chart which gives results in her/his own system(s). The abuse of power and the suffering of the people of Russia have been so extreme, a valid chart has to portray such potentials. A major key to the picture in secondary progressions should be long-term aspects of outer planets to the angles of the chart, including the angles in Moscow. The local angles should also “work,” including Chernobyl, Baku, etc. for events in those areas. Of course, I have also come to expect dramatic aspects involving the asteroids though I do not use them in my preliminary rectification. They are a bonus in a chart to be added to aspects between traditional planets and angles at the times of major events.
The 3 P.M. chart for Lenin’s first public appearance gives us a Capricorn MC conjunct Venus and the north node of the Moon in a trine to Mars for their triumph which was almost bloodless at the time. Mars is also in a quincunx to the Antivertex, East Point, and Ascendant in early Aries. The positive potentials of this combination are actually there. A country born at such a time could have changed from a state of war (the Aries Ascendant) to one run by and for the workers (Ascendant ruler in the sign and house of Virgo). Jupiter in Gemini in the second house is sextile the Ascendant and the Neptune-Saturn conjunction in Leo in the sixth house. Neptune is also semisextile Pluto in Cancer in the fourth house, with the pattern suggestive of idealism and potential wealth if the intelligence and ambition are handled constructively. The Moon is also in Leo and opposite Uranus in Aquarius, fitting the rebellion against previous power elite. A close conjunction of Sun-Ceres in Scorpio with Mercury also fairly close is appropriate for the intense concern with joint resources and the birth of the nation in the midst of a power struggle. The Russians were fighting against the Central Powers as well as against their own nobility and large property owners. The positive side of Scorpio calls for mutual sharing of possessions, pleasures and power. The negative side can be ruthless abuse of power.
Pluto, the primary ruler of Scorpio, is a major indicator of the death, deprivation and suffering which have overshadowed the Russian people so often. P Pluto has remained in a one-degree square to the 3 P.M. Ascendant for the whole life of the country, and it is finally just on the edge of leaving the aspect. Unfortunately, this is no guarantee that the worst is over, because many other difficult aspects remain, but it does fit the present period as a time of major change for the people who are symbolized by Cancer and anything in or ruling the fourth house. P Pluto remains square the midpoint of Sun/Moon at 4 Libra 5 until 2152, carrying the same meaning as a square to both of the lights. It will also remain conjunct the south lunar node (a stress point) almost as long. The P nodes stay on the IC-MC axis and square the East Point and Antivertex for many years, accentuating the perpetual power struggles. The message is repeated by the P mean nodes holding octile-trioctiles to Saturn, Sun and Ceres for many years with the “true” nodes moving into the aspects to extend the period until the middle of the next century.
Other long aspects which fit a troubled country include P Saturn square to Sun-Ceres until 1968-9, and in a trioctile to Venus from 1922 to 1949, but it is aspects to angles which are especially important when trying to confirm the time of birth of a country or person. P Jupiter was octile the Moscow Ascendant until 1923, covering the period of the worst of the civil war and the drought and famine of the early 1920s. One of the most striking supports for the 3 P.M. time is the Neptune quincunx to the Moscow MC until 1953-4. Stalin died on March 5, 1953 and Beria, head of the dreaded secret police, was ousted from power soon after and executed in late December of the same year. The country awoke from a nightmare that year, though the majority of the citizens had no knowledge of the extent of Stalin’s horror. No regime since Stalin has approached his ruthless brutality. P Neptune moved into the trine to the natal Ascendant in 1988 as Gorbachev moved to permit religious freedom for the first time since the Communists came to power, reversing the years of repression and the promotion of atheism as the official state position.
The chart also offers the usual asteroids. Industria was on the Ascendant as a country was born which was theoretically to belong to the workers and which did become a major industrial power. Kaiser opposed the Ascendant and you will recall that Russia was at war with Germany at the time and Kaiser was the title of the German ruler. Utopia was on the Antivertex and East Point, pointing again to the ideals professed but not practiced. Baikonur was conjunct the Moon and P Uranus moved to form an opposition to it as the city for which it was named became the launching area for Russia’s space ventures. Herbert was also on the Moon and P ARA was on Mars when Herbert Hoover led the effort of the American Relief Administration to relieve the terrible famine in 1920-21. On natal Mars were Winchester (guns) and Anubis (Egyptian god of the dead) at the time of the revolution and through the civil war following it. Moskva (Moscow) was square the Moscow MC. Wladilena (Lenin) was on Jupiter. America opposed the Sun-Ceres and Washington opposed the Moscow Ascendant. Only one-degree-orb aspects are mentioned.
The current patterns are equally “right-on.” Natal Azerbajdzhan was quincunx the Moscow Ascendant and P Azerbajdzhan is trine the same point but quincunx the P natal and local Ascendants. The quincunx shows a strong potential for a separation. P Russia is on natal Armenia and P Armenia has been going over the Antivertex and East Point and is now quincunx natal Mars. P Gaea (earth) and Karl Marx (source of the theory of communism) are conjunct each other and square natal Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. P Vilnius is quincunx natal Mars. P Icarus (overreach and a possible crash) is on the Moscow MC (executive power and the consequences of past actions). P Sun is on P Attila (the Hun who came out of Asia to conquer much of Europe). P Michel (Mikhail) is on P Teutonia (Germany) with both square Neptune but at least they are also trine the Moscow MC. P Moskva is on Pallas (our most political asteroid which so often indicates a fight for equality) as the Communist Party struggles with the threat of losing total power. P Kaiser is now opposite the Moscow Ascendant raising the modern equivalent question about German power which the Bolsheviks faced at their beginning when Kaiser was opposite the Petrograd Ascendant. Remember also that Petrograd was the city besieged and literally starved by Hitler’s forces during the Second World War. Another key to Germany, P Germania, is on the south node of the Moon, reminding the people of past suffering at the hands of their neighbor.
There is much more, but I want to mention an article which I just wrote for an issue of the NCGR Journal that will be totally devoted to heliocentric astrology. I chose our Declaration of Independence and Constitution as subjects, partly because I had never looked at the helio positions in them. I was astonished to find helio Mars and Uranus exactly conjunct in the Declaration chart and helio Mars and Pluto exactly conjunct in the Constitution. Can you imagine anything more appropriate for a chart of a revolution and one for a self-appointed policeman of the world? I have also worked extensively with the charts of Romania and the Ceausescus (have speculative times for the latter), and with Dubcek of Czechoslovakia, and more with Noriega and Bush. We are seeing the accuracy of Bush’s inauguration with Mars on the East Point square the Sun and Pluto opposite the Ascendant. But, I am running out of space as usual, and we are back to having to use the commercial printer. The Sagittarius Mutable Dilemma is partly written but we are waiting on it, hoping that our lemon Minolta photo copier will come to some kind of resolution. In the meantime, I will send everyone this Asteroid-World, and hope that you all have a fine new year.