by Vernon Robinson
This post is the result of research from an earlier paper I presented at the Queer Astrology Conference (QAC) in 2018 on Bayard Rustin. During my research on Mr. Rustin, I noticed that Dr. King’s chart and the US Chart (Sibly) had Sun/Pluto conjunctions on both sides of the synastry, which is significant. When I mentioned this to Steven he was quite interested and asked if I would do a paper for his blog for Black History Month.
I will present the basics of the US Chart and Dr. King’s chart using the Triad analysis (Sun, Moon, Ascendant) and Nodal Axis analysis including the rulers of the North and South Nodes. Then I’ll look at each chart from a synastry perspective, to examine the impact of each one on the other.
US Sibly Chart
I am using the Sibly Chart of the US as referenced from Nicholas Campion. In this chart, the US has a 7th house Cancer Sun, along with a stellium which includes Jupiter and Venus, both in Cancer. In this stellium we see the US has a Cancerian nature in dealing with relationships with other countries. The shadow side of all that includes not really trusting, and thus trying to control things. This is exaggerated by Jupiter and smoothed by diplomatic Venus.
Jupiter is the ruler of the Sagittarius Ascendant, while Venus is the ruler of the Libra midheaven, with both planets squaring the midheaven. So here we have tension between the 7th house Cancer stellium and the Libran public image. Cancer is the symbol of the crab. That hard shell is manifests in various ways, but one of them is the way the US sits geographically between two oceans, creating a protective (and watery) barrier. Walled off, but yet at the same time the US wants to be liked by others.
All of this Cancer energy is ruled by the 3rd house Moon in Aquarius, which is about being objective, keeping emotionally distant and not necessarily feeling things. Think about the times in US history when there has been the desire to be in isolation from the rest of the world. The only problem with this is that most of the planets in the US chart are on the western side, indicating that relationships with others are important. The Libra midheaven reinforces this as well.
The Sagittarius Ascendant shows that the US is about big things – “bigger and better” and “more and more.” The symbol of Uncle Sam is a good illustration of this. At the same time, the ruler, Jupiter lies in Cancer, which is not the most expansive sign and can be bound up with caution and tradition, especially in regards to religious beliefs – something indicated by the 9th house Neptune in Virgo.
The US chart has a 2nd house South Node in Aquarius forming a wide conjunction to Pluto, which is retrograde in Capricorn. The US has a history of elitism/classism along with an emphasis on material things, and it leans towards plutocracy. Think back to the fact that the US started out as a British Colony and still reflects some of that class structure. Notice the modern ruler of Aquarius is Uranus, which we find in Gemini in the 8th house. One expression of it is the invention of new ways to use things in order to keep the elite wealthy and in power.
Looking to the traditional ruler of the south node, we have Saturn in Libra in the 10th house. It is also the ruler of the 2nd house. Pluto in Capricorn in the 2nd house is widely conjunct the South Node. This shows the strong tendency to place the value of material things and wealth above everything else.
From the evolutionary perspective, the 8th house Leo North Node shows that the US needs to get into real transformation through nurturing others (7th house Cancer Sun being its ruler). Remember after World War II, the US actually did this by helping to rebuild Europe through the Marshall Plan, as well as helping Japan get back on its feet. Also during the late 1800s and early 1900s the US allowed people to immigrate from various countries in the world to start a new life. The spirit of the 8th house Leo North Node is reflected inthe words in the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness…”
For more details on the US Chart, review Steven’s talk “The USA - Ripening Karma.”
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Astrology Chart
Turning to Dr. King’s chart, there is no official birth time because Dr. King was born at home. Dr. King’s Grandmother said his birth time was “High Noon.” I have seen other versions of his chart that show a birth time of 11:34 am (“Karmic Astrology” by Martin Schulman) and 11:21 am (“Synthesis and Counseling in Astrology” by Noel Tyl, rectified by Jim Lewis). I am going to use the 12:00 pm time here because, from an African-American cultural perspective, given that Grandmother was at the house during the birth of Dr. King she would accurately remember what time it was.
The first thing I note about his chart is that most of the planets are on the East side, so we can say this chart is about dealing with one’s self. Dr. King has a 9th house Capricorn Sun that conjuncts his Capricorn midheaven. From this perspective, Dr. King had a natural desire to deal with philosophical, religious and spiritual things. With Saturn in Sagittarius in the 8th house as the ruler of the 9th, Dr. King had the ability to understand “Natural Law” (Sagittarius) in a profound way, knowing why and how it is different from any “man-made” law.
His 11th house Pisces Moon shows the desire to find his spiritual tribe. Pisces is ruled by his Neptune, which is retrograde in the 4th House (modern ruler). Dr. King is dealing with the spiritual by working (Virgo) on his craft in divinity (Neptune) school. The Taurus Ascendant is ruled by Venus in Pisces, which is conjunct his Moon. This shows Dr. King’s love of people at the spiritual/metaphysical level. Also note that the traditional ruler of Pisces is Jupiter in Taurus in the 12th house, bringing the unconscious (12th house) into reality (Taurus) in an expansive (Jupiter) way.
King’s South Node is in the 7th house in Scorpio, showing that there was some type of deep emotional trauma in Dr. King’s past. The modern ruler of his Scorpio South Node is Pluto retrograde in Cancer in the 3rd house, which indicates some deep injustice that resulted in an emotional trauma. In a past life, Dr. King spoke up about something that resulted in deep emotional trauma, and possibly his death.
Dr. King’s North Node is in Taurus in the 1st house. This shows he needed to learn how to take things easy and to try to go with life and be at peace – a goal which his Scorpionic karma constantly challenged. The North Node ruler is Venus in Pisces in the 11th house. This is about Dr. King finding his natural “spiritual tribe” – his friends on the broad sense. Dr. King created this spiritual tribe by founding the Southern Christian Leadership Counsel (SCLC).
In my Feb 2018 blog post, I wrote about Bayard Rustin, who was a mentor to Dr. King. Mr. Rustin’s Pisces Sun is conjunct Dr. King’s 11th house Pisces Moon. Mr. Rustin’s Pisces Moon and Pisces Chiron is conjunct Dr. King’s 11th house Pisces Venus. In Dr. King’s autobiography he says: “My call to the ministry was not a miraculous or supernatural something. On the contrary, it was an inner urge calling me to serve humanity.”
Dr. King Chart Inner with US Chart Outer Synastry
Now that we’ve looked at the basics of each of the charts we’ll turn to the synastry between the US Chart and Dr. King’s chart. We’ll start with Dr. King’s in the inner wheel and the US chart being the outer. This shows the impact of the US on Dr. King.
Notice that the first thing that stands out is the “mirror” Sun/Pluto conjunctions of each of the charts in synastry. The US Cancer Sun is conjunct Dr. King’s 3rd House Pluto (blue 1). The US’s Cancer Sun is giving energy to the transformation of Dr. King’s perception and thinking. This is reinforced by the US Mercury conjunction with Dr. King’s 3rd house Pluto. At the same time, the US Pluto is conjunct Dr. King’s 9th house Capricorn Sun (blue 2). This represents the transformation of Dr. King on a theological/spiritual level. These “mirror” Sun/Pluto conjunctions are impacting the transformation of Dr. King at the same time.
Notice that the US Mars in Gemini is almost exactly conjunct Dr. King’s 2nd house Mars (blue 3). The same type of forward-thinking energy is found in both charts.
Next, we see the US South Node is conjunct Dr. King’s 10th House Mercury in Aquarius. Dr. King’s forward thinking is positive and his message resonates with and utilizes Christian-based values to get his message across.
Some additional interesting features include three “mirror oppositions,” the first with the US Neptune in Virgo sitting in Dr. King’s 5th house, opposing his Moon in the 11th (orange 1). Here, the reality of the Neptune is in opposition to the ideals of Dr. King’s Pisces Moon of universal love. Next, we have the US Moon in Aquarius opposing Dr. King’s 4th house Neptune in Virgo. Many American People (Aquarius Moon) were opposed to the compassionate Neptunian ideals that Dr. King had about equality. In Dr. King’s autobiography, he writes, “I could never adjust to separate waiting rooms, separate eating places, separate restrooms, partly because the separate was always unequal and partly because the very idea of separation did something to my sense of dignity and self-respect.”
The last of the oppositions is the US Mars in Gemini opposing Dr. King’s Saturn in the 8th house in Sagittarius. This is about bringing into the forefront the Martial resistance of the US to the idea of racial equality. Dr. King held firmly (Saturn) to his Sagittarian principles in the face of violent anger and opposition from some directions.
Also note that the US Leo North Node is in Dr. King’s 4th house, which represents his inner world. The ruler of the US North Node is the Sun, which lies in Cancer – and which in turn sits in Dr. King’s 3rd house, making a conjunction to his Pluto. This shows the way that the situation he faced in the US energized Dr. King at a very deep emotional level.
US Chart Inner and Dr. King’s Chart Outer Synastry
Now let’s look at the synastry with the US chart in the inner wheel and Dr. King’s chart in the outer. Dr. King’s Capricorn Sun conjuncts the US chart’s 2nd House Pluto (blue 2). Here, Dr. King is shining light on the US’s nature of materialism and plutocrat wealth. Think back to the speeches that Dr. King made about this.
Dr. King’s Pluto is conjunct the US chart’s 7th house Cancer Sun (blue 1). Here, Dr. King is trying to transform the very nature of the US to live up its words. This is described in detail in the book Behind the Dream – The Making of the Speech that Transformed a Nation by Clarence B. Jones. Dr. King did this using the power of his gifted communication skills as a writer and a speaker. This is shown by Dr. King’s Mercury in Aquarius conjunct the US South Node. Dr. King spoke to the values that the US is supposed to represent. Dr. King’s Mars is conjunct the US chart’s 7th house Gemini Mars. Again, Dr. King is pushing the US to live up to its ideals.
There are three important oppositions in this synastry. Again there is a “mirror” opposition, with Dr. King’s Pisces Moon sitting in the US chart’s 3rd house, while opposing the US Neptune (orange 1). This reflects how Dr. King’s thinking about the universal values of all people were opposed by the status quo at the time. Think about how Dr. King’s writings, “Letters from a Birmingham Jail” and “Why We Can’t Wait” reflect this. Dr. King’s Neptune is in the US chart’s 9th house opposing its 3rd house Moon (orange 2). Dr. King’s spiritual and philosophical beliefs were not the same as most of the US.
The last opposition is Dr. King’s Saturn in Sagittarius sitting in the US chart’s 1st house (house of self) while opposing the US Mars. Dr. King’s understanding of natural law (Sagittarius) through his study (Saturn) of theology, philosophy and spirituality show what changes need to be made in the consciousness of the US.
Another interesting feature is that Dr. King’s Taurus North Node is in the US chart’s 6th house, the house of service. Dr. King said that he wanted to be in service to humanity.
Dr. King Chart and the Transits at the Start of the Montgomery Bus Boycott
Dr. King came into prominence by leading the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The date and time for the start of the Montgomery Bus Boycott are from the historical record from the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Research Library at Stanford University. Steven has talked about the “karma ripening” and this example in Dr. King’s life is a good example of this.
First, notice that the transiting Nodal axis conjuncts Dr. King’s 8th house Sagittarius Saturn (Tr Sagittarius North Node - 1) and Dr. King’s 2nd house Mars retrograde in Gemini (Tr Gemini South Node - 2). This indicates that it was time for equality (no more riding in the back of the bus) to come into being, and to communicate clearly to everyone that these are the higher values.
The transiting Scorpio Saturn (3) is conjunct Dr. King’s 7th house Scorpio South Node. This suggests that this conflict probably once occurred in a previous lifetime as well. The midheavens are involved too, as the transiting midheaven is conjunct Dr. King’s Pisces Moon and Venus.
Transiting Chiron in Aquarius is conjunct Dr. King’s midheaven (5). It is time for the “wounded healer” to reveal something to the larger community (10th house). Transiting Moon, Jupiter and Pluto are conjunct Dr. King’s 4th house Neptune. It was time to meld creative emotional ability (Moon in Virgo) with a practical expansion (Jupiter in Virgo), tempered by a deep emotional understanding of the self (Pluto in Leo). All of this empowered Dr. King to lead the Montgomery Bus Boycott at the tender age of 26.
Steven has described the primary goal of a Capricorn Sun person to do some type of Great Work in their lifetime. I believe that it is fair to say that Dr. King did the great work that he was destined to do, and then some.