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Will the Real Birth Chart of the U.S.A. Please Stand Up? Date Published: by Mary Downing
Bio: Mary Downing

Mary Downing is an eclectic practical astrologer who is as a member of the AFAN SC, The NCGR Board of Directors, and served as past NCGR Exec. Secretary and publisher of the NCGR Journal, Geocosmic and Memberletter (1982-1998.)

She is a frequent contributor to many astrology publications in the US and Europe, and her essays on market timing and cycles can be found in Financial Astrology for the 90's (Llewellyn) and Essentials of Intermediate Astrology (NCGR Publications.)

Her articles cover business, cycles, employment, mundane, financial, Renaissance astro-philosophy, American historical and political timelines, and predictive horary/event/election and cosmobiology techniques


Editor's Introduction:
During the protracted "Indecision 2000" situation with regard to the American Presidential election, mundane astrology remained at the forefront of many people's interest. Many astrologers were trying to understand the election and its aftermath, each advocating the use of a wide variety of charts. On the ACT e-mail list (Astrological Conference on Techniques), a ferocious debate re-opened regarding what is the most effective and useful chart to use as the primary (or inception) chart for the U.S.A.
ACT discussions can be viewed at


Over the years, an incredible number of proposed charts, beginning with the great many Declaration of Independence Charts, have been proposed as central to any understanding of U.S. affairs. Astrological luminaries of all persuasions have presented long and involved arguments and counter-arguments about each of these. As the discussion on the ACT list continued, it became clear that the main source of disagreement centered around the various times proposed (and used) for the Declaration of Independence chart. In particular, reliable documentation for the July 4 date and times has been nearly impossible to find, but there are other and possibly more compelling reasons to question the use of July 4 charts. For a survey of a few of these charts (there are many!) look at our article archived on this site entitled "Presidential Astrology."

In this article, Mary Downing lays out reasoning for the position, advocated by Nicholas Campion and others, that the DOI (Declaration of Independence) chart should be set aside in favor of a much more appropriate and readily verifiable timed chart.

Will the Real Birth Chart of the U.S.A. Please Stand Up? The US does have a peculiar governmental structure; three equal power centers of government. While I don't find it a problem to use three different (actually four) charts to represent its actions, I can understand why some would prefer a central chart if only for neatness sake.

However: The Declaration of Independence was an act of the Continental Congress representing a loose (but heretofore loyal) federation of English colonies. At the time it happened, the signers and their constituents were nominally British citizens. Which, obviously, is why they had to declare their formal break with the Crown's dominion.

Whereupon the Continental Congress recruited, organized and fielded joint-colonial defense in behalf of these colonies against the Crown's attempt to reestablish its governance. Each colony had its own assembly.

While all this was happening, until the revolution was well over, you had only independent colonies. You did not have a United States; you had Massachusetts, Maryland, Virginia, etc. [Throughout this period] there was NO union, ergo no new nation only old (but now independent) colonies. Each had its own laws, courts, and custom; and there was no body of law or any mechanism that bound them all together — only a regional chamber of delegates with no authority. You had tariff disputes between colonies. That was the actual reason for mounting the Constitutional Convention: to create a mechanism for each of the colonies to work as a whole with its fellows.

George Washington served as presiding officer mostly because he was the only person trusted by the most powerful of the disagreeing states: Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

That potential constitution was not that well received. It took a compromise that included the Bill of Rights and major land-grant concessions on the part of Virginia and Pennsylvania. George Washington served as presiding officer mostly because he was the only person trusted by the most powerful of the disagreeing states: Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Elements that are a major part of the US persona, such as religious freedom, did not exist prior to the U.S. Constitution, although they did exist in specific colonies (Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Maryland, founded by Jacobeans, had been taken over by anti-Catholic forces and religious freedom rescinded.) Massachusetts could still burn you at the stake for heresy.

I can only suggest, for intellectual honesty's sake, you consider dates relating to the adoption of the Constitution, the Inauguration of Washington, the first meeting of House and Senate, and the establishment of the Supreme Court. If you do, you will discover much more radically sensitive charts to current events.

I personally find them all significant, and when something as extreme as the current situation occurs, they all reflect it. You will find also an echo of the July 4, 1776 positions (if you use a 90 deg. dial), which is exactly as it should be. All events in a historical string should relate back and forth to each other. However, what can be a very vague indicator in the 1776 chart can become quite precise when Washington's Inauguration is used as the bellwether.

For example: please examine all elections/administrations that began with November 7th or 8th elections after the two-party system emerged. Elections are on the first Tuesday following the first Monday of November. They can range from Nov. 2 through Nov. 8, or from 9 through 16 degrees of Scorpio.

The transiting Sun at 14 to 16 SCO creates, on Election Day, a malefic "picture" in the George Washington inaugural chart. You'll find the current election, of course, but you'll also find Tilden-Hayes and Harrison-Cleveland. This chart is also sensitive to 0 degrees Fixed, and most Uranians and Cosmobiologists consider the 0 degree Cardinal-15 degree Fixed the "world axis" affecting everyone — which would argue for events during that administration which affect "all of the people" by means of international involvements.

All of these administrations were turbulent times, and there is both a theme of economic problems/radical legislation, war, labor unrest and natural disasters.

Events during administrations elected on either Nov. 7th or 8th

In 1845, the Tuesday after the first Monday in November was officially designated as the presidential Election Day (3 USC 1).

  1. 2000 - George W. Bush defeats Al Gore. Crucial Florida votes are contested, and Republican's appeal to Supreme Court results in the Supreme Court declaring recounts unconstitutional and remanding the case to Florida Supreme Court, with no apparent remedy. Al Gore concedes the election to Bush despite a near certainty that had every legitimate but disqualified Florida vote been counted, he would have won that state and hence the election.
  2. 1988 - George Bush, one term. Inherited Iran-Contra hearing, Savings and Loan failures, and HUD scandals combined with incipient inflation and the Gulf War to plague his administration. Hurricane Hugo devastated the Virgin Islands and Charleston, SC. The Exxon Valdez ran aground in Alaska causing a major oil spill and focusing unfavorable light on oil companies (source of Bush family wealth.)
  3. 1968 - Nixon first term (resigned in '74) Trips to both China (Normalize relations) and Moscow. Moon Landing. Viet Nam escalates with major anti-Viet Nam demonstrations including Kent State, and of course the break-in at Watergate June 17, 1972. Robert Kennedy assassinated during primary campaign.
  4. 1960 - Kennedy (assassinated), Cuban Missile crisis, Berlin Wall, Vietnam War begins. Beginnings of US space program. Integration. Supreme Court establishes Miranda rule, one-man one-vote, and forbids prayer in schools.
  5. 1944 - FDR last term (died, 1945) End of WWII, beginning of "Cold War." Atomic bomb. Korean war begins. Major mine and rail strikes. Events included passage of the Taft-Hartley (anti-strike) Law, implementation of the Marshall Plan, the Berlin Blockade.
  6. 1932 - Roosevelt 1st term (dies in office, 1945) Great Depression, closed banks, major social legislation.)
  7. 1916 - Wilson 2nd term. Wilson suffered a stroke and was largely disabled in office. Beginnings of WWI, Prohibition enacted, Spanish Influenza epidemic (killed half million in US,) "Red Scare" leads to trials and deportations, League of Nations defeated, Women's suffrage granted.
  8. 1904 - T. Roosevelt. (Trust-busting Standard oil, San Francisco Earthquake, 1907 Financial panic and depression.) Since he was not elected to his previous term, but took over as VP from McKinley, it was a single term.
  9. 1888 - Harrison defeats Cleveland in Electoral College without winning popular vote. Single term. He was both preceded and followed by Cleveland in office. Johnstown Flood, Sherman Anti-trust act, Battle of Wounded Knee SD, Strike at Carnegie Steel, Homestead PA — strikers fired on.)
  10. 1876 - Hayes-Tilden. Tilden had popular vote. This posed a very similar to election situation in 2000. Single term. (Battle of Little Big Horn, 11 "Molly McGuire" leaders hanged in Scranton PA, railroad strike suppressed violently. Begins a decade of labor agitation.
  11. 1860 - Lincoln, 1st term. (Dies during second term.) Also, his was a messy election with multiple splinter candidates. South seceded (left the union) almost immediately.
  12. 1848 - Zachary Taylor (successful Whig candidate) — died in office, is succeeded by Anti-slavery and women's rights became major issues during campaign. Tight election, each candidate carrying 15 states, with only a 100,000 vote plurality for Taylor. Martin Van Buren ran as a Free-Soil candidate, polled enough votes in New York to "spoil" it for the Democrat nominee, Cass - thereby giving its electoral votes to Taylor.


Under our system of government, it is very possible to have the House and Senate attack the Administration (Clinton impeachment) and the Administration to try to manipulate the Supreme Court (Roosevelt's attempt to "pack it with a second member for each member over 70 years of age). The Court, on the other hand, can issue a decision that becomes a target for the Congress (Roe Vs. Wade). In short, they do not act in concert. How could one single chart represent them if they are antagonists — and they are?

Data and Sources

  1. George Washington First Inauguration ("POTUS" chart): April 30, 1789, New York, NY between 12:40 and 12:45 p.m. LMT. Time usually used: Source: Campion, "Book of World Horoscopes," #378. (Cite courtesy of Lorenzo Smerillo)

    Declaration of Independence MSS documents (websites from Lorenzo Smerillo):

  2. Original rough draft:
    1. Transcript of same:
  3. Rough draft:
  4. Fragment of a draft in Jefferson's hand:
    1. Transcript of same:
  5. Autobiographical account of Thomas Jefferson for the days of early July. This is on-line at:
  6. Another key datum from Lois Rodden: In AstroDatabank we have seven charts for the U.S. The source notes for the 1787 one is given as:
    Name: United States of America No.5
    Birth Name: Signing of the Constitution
    Birth Date: 9/17/1787
    Birth Time: 11:29:00 AM
    Birth Place: Philadelphia, PA
    Latitude: 39 N 57
    Longitude:75 W 9
    Time Signature:LMT+5:1 Local Mean
    Data Source: Accuracy in question (C)

    Source Notes: The date of the signing of the Constitution with a time given in the CAO newsletter 1975, Al H. Morrison. The data is for the signature that finalized an adoption of the present U.S. Constitution subject to ratification by the individual States. The latter came to pass and the Constitution was declared effective as of March 4, 1789.

    LMR [Lois Rodden] quotes an article in Time magazine, 7/06/1987, "How the Deed Was Done," p.61. "A long argument between the strong-government men and the states'-righters colored many other issues... On July 24, the convention named a five-man Committee of Detail to sort everything out and draft a coherent summary of all the votes. After nine days, they adjourned and Washington went fishing. The dwindling collection of delegates picked a five-man Committee of Style and Arrangement to undertake the actual writing of the Constitution. "Although they were not supposed to change the substance of what the convention had so far decided ... all five were strong-government advocates. The actual writer was Gouverneur Morris, who re-wrote the original to read,

    "We, the People of the United States ...." "When the committee presented its constitution on Sept.12, the delegates eagerly began trying to change things all over again.... (disagreements.... voting...). The changing continued right up to the scheduled closing day, September 17, but three delegates ... refused to sign. Franklin still had doubts and reservations, saying "I consent, sir, to this Constitution because I expect no better." "Still ahead was nine months of bitter debate before the necessary nine states ratified what had been written that summer in Philadelphia. Ahead lay the creation of the Bill of Rights..... 13th Amendment .... 19th Amendment .... but it was on the 17th of September 1787 when Washington wrote in his journal, "The business being closed, the members adjourned to the City Tavern to dine, after which... retire to meditate on the momentous work which had been executed."

  7. Also from Lois Rodden, regarding the Declaration of Independence inception times:
    An article in the Santa Fe NM paper, The New Mexican, 11/17/1976, discloses that Historian Paul H. Smith of the Library of Congress uncovered evidence that Jefferson's memory misled him. In notes that he made seven years after the adoption, Jefferson wrote, "The debates having taken up the greater parts of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th days of July were, in the evening of the last closed. The declaration was reported by the committee, agreed to by the house, and signed by every member present except Mr. Dickinson."

    Historians were never comfortable with Jefferson's memory. There is near certainty that the declaration was not actually signed until it came back from the printer, sometime in August. As for the hour, the official journal indicated Congress convened at 9:00 AM, debated and quickly adopted the declaration and then went on to their other work.

    The Spring, 1994, NCGR Journal, in the section entitled "An American Chronology," has many of the following dates in it, with source information (as well as many more dates):

  8. Legal Inception of the U.S. Constitution
    1. Adopted: Sept 1787, 11.29 AM LMT Philadelphia PA. (AFA).
    2. Sept. 28, 1787 Submitted to states.
    3. Accepts new Constitution: July 2, 1788 by Congress of Confederation (Parent body of Constitutional Convention).
  9. Inception Chart for the House of Representatives
    1. April 1, 1789 the House first met (in NY, NY) and conducted business
    2. March 4, 1789 (specified date for first meeting) went without quorum
  10. Inception Chart for the U.S. Senate
    1. April 6, 1789 the Senate first met (in NY, NY) and conducted business
    2. March 4, 1789 (specified date for first meeting) went without quorum
  11. First meeting of a joint session of congress (NY, NY):
    1. April 6, 1789 a quorum in both houses being present, Congress met to count the electoral college votes for President.
  12. Inception Charts for the U.S. Supreme Court (in the absence of known times, noon is used):
    1. Sept 24, 1789 (New York, NY): Congress passes the Federal Judiciary Act, creating a 6-man Supreme Court with a chief justice and 5 associate justices; the act also provides for an attorney general, and for a judicial system of 13 district courts and 3 circuit courts. From "From Schlesinger's Almanac of American History"
    2. George Washington nominated the first Justices on 24 Sept 1789 Location: New York, NY.
    3. Washington's nominees were confirmed by the Senate on 26 Sept 1789 Location: New York, NY.


© Copyright: Mary Downing





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Downing, MaryThe Predictive Power of Astrology



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