The solar and lunar dimensions of our natures are partners in the astrological dance of life, and it takes time for them to work out their best moves — this is the focus of the personal progressed lunar cycle, and an intriguing topic in its own right.
The topic of this post, however, concerns mundane astrology and the “dance” we all do together as a nation. What does that progressed process look like in a nation’s evolution? Who exactly are the dance “partners?” I’ve made a pandemic project out of studying this topic, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the layers upon layers of insight to be gained. I began by exploring what, exactly, the mundane Moon represents (it’s long been unclear to me) and from there I worked on incorporating it more fully into mundane chart explorations. What I hope has come out of it is a more People-centric way of exploring a mundane chart; an approach that I will introduce here.
It’s always seemed trite to me to say that the mundane Moon represents the “People” of a nation, as if we’re all just one amorphous mass with the same needs, values and belief systems, but in fact, the millions of individuals who were born in, or somehow wake up in the same nation everyday do share ineffable qualities that over time, help identify that nation. People don’t pull off this feat all at once or in a vacuum, however: to grasp the mundane Moon on a deeper level we must examine the broader solar/lunar dynamics at work in a nation’s chart. That requires asking key questions—for instance, what role do the People play in their nation? What role does Government (leadership) play? And critically, how do people and their leaders operate together to accomplish the nation’s needs and goals? What kind of relationship exists there, and how does that manifest over the course of time and events?
To answer these questions requires understanding how the mundane Moon and Sun work in tandem over time, and that brings us inevitably to the mundane progressed lunar cycle. The evolution of a nation is driven by its leadership and sovereign character (in mundane astrology, the Sun) and by its People and grass roots priorities (the Moon). These two dimensions of any nation’s life are deeply interdependent, of course—historian Jon Meacham likes to say that there’s an essential “covenant between the leaders and the led” at work in American life; that’s certainly true, but this “covenant” also evolves over time, and not always in positive ways. One way or another, this all-important progressed lunar cycle makes for an intriguing way to explore and better understand the forces driving a nation’s history.
Cliché or not, history does unfold in cycles, and the secondary progressed lunar cycle of a mundane chart is a critical guide to how this works. This cycle tracks the angular relationship over time of the progressed Moon (faster body) and the progressed Sun (slower body). A full progressed lunar cycle takes approximately 30 years long because the Sun progresses 1° per year, while the Moon progresses approximately 1° per month. The major cycle milestones (using numerical aspect numbers) are:
Progressed New Moon (PSun-0-PMoon)
Progressed 1Q (PSun-90-PMoon)
Progressed 2Q (PSun-180-PMoon)
Progressed 3Q (PSun-270-PMoon)
Like any planetary cycle, there is a lighter-feeling waxing half (PMoon moving counterclockwise ahead of the PSun) and a somewhat heavier-feeling waning half (again going counterclockwise, PMoon trailing behind and catching up to the PSun). The culmination/turning point between these halves is, of course, the opposition.
We expect certain dynamics to unfold over these cycle milestones—from the seed moment of the cycle inception (PSun-PMoon conjunction) into the mildly stressful semi-square and the more open, possibility-filled sextile, through the first quarter square period (the 1Q), which can be exciting and creative, but can also pose developmental challenges for the nation and the new cycle’s “seed agenda.” Efforts to meet those challenges (effective or not) develop from there. The cycle agenda tends to enjoy smoother sailing around the time of the trine and to meet more frustrations and obstacles around the quincunx. It culminates in the progressed opposition (the 2Q), which, as noted, provides a turning point within that cycle’s agenda.
Such cyclical “forks in the road” can offer consequential choices: take, for instance, the 1816 Sibly progressed lunar cycle second quarter (2Q) launched in 1831 (see Table 1 below), just months after the U.S. Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, a significant turning point that forever tainted our early expansionist ambitions. (1) That was happening at the same time the movement seeking to abolish slavery and slave-holding in the U.S. was gaining steam in the northeast—we are a nation rich in contradictions, a theme that emerges over and over in these cycles. Maybe it shouldn’t surprise us that the 1846 progressed cycle’s 2Q phase coincided almost exactly with the first shots of the U.S. Civil War, which haunts us yet today.
The final quarter (3Q) of any progressed cycle will resolve at least some of the loose ends left hanging by that cycle’s early agenda, but the 3Q’s more difficult moments (315°, 330°) can also muck up the works, inject a sluggishness of purpose and even crisis or corruption into public life. Leaders can fall into a rut in which they take their jobs for granted, or it becomes apparent that they simply aren’t up to the challenges of the day; this was the case with Herbert Hoover in 1929, during the 1905 cycle’s 3Q (Table 1). (2) He proved unable to overcome his ideological hang-ups to help the American people deal with the Great Depression, so it was up to the voters in 1932 to vote someone in who could bring a fresh perspective. Triwheel #1 displays what that 3Q election looked like; let’s consider a few quick points pertinent to the People’s priorities at the time.
Notice that Election Sun (outer wheel, Scorpio) conjoins Sibly progressed Moon (PMoon, middle wheel) — the People’s issues were the focus of that election, and they were suffering, with that PMoon transiting the Sibly 12th. PMoon trined Sibly Sun — the People were ready to cooperate with the nation’s leaders and they expected results, even though the progressed 3Q in its last 30° degrees had made that relationship difficult (Hooversville, the Bonus army protests, etc.). (1, 2) Notice that the progressed Sun (PSun, middle) was in Sagittarius in the Sibly 1st that election day — a new, more expansive (and frankly, optimistic and generous) leader was key, and FDR fit the role nicely.
In short, the 3Q will focus on clearing out any stale/outworn or corrupt energies, which often makes a change of leadership inevitable. Trump was elected at the end of the 1994 (our present cycle’s) 2Q, but almost his entire presidency fell during that cycle’s 3Q, which may partially explain why he didn’t win reelection. The cycle correlations with leadership shifts can’t be exact, of course—sometimes our election cycles fit the 7.5/30 year rhythms of the lunar progressed cycle, sometimes they don’t.
As the 3Q phase winds down, we’re on to the next progressed New Moon and a new cycle: these shifts can coincide with a new leadership culture and sometimes a generational shift. John F. Kennedy’s short-lived “Camelot” presidency was this kind of breath of fresh political air for 1960s American culture. He was our youngest president to date, and the first in a long time to have young children in the White House.
Kennedy was elected president in 1960, towards the end of the 1935 Sagittarius progressed cycle (see Table 1), and even though he was assassinated in late 1963, during the last 18° of that volatile 1935 progressed cycle, the new 1965 cycle (Capricorn) was imprinted with agenda items that LBJ (his successor) carried on from him: Civil Rights reforms and the unfortunate contradiction (always!) of the generation-rattling Vietnam War. Kennedy probably would have supported both, had he lived.
Of course, nothing says corruption must be confined to the 3Q: beset by anti-war protests, LBJ declined to run again in 1968, leaving the way open for Richard Nixon; both the war and the Nixon presidency ended during the 1965 cycle’s unusually fraught 1Q crisis of leadership, the Watergate conspiracy, and the Arab Oil embargo of 1973. Ratcheting up that Middle East tension and the nation’s post-Watergate longing for another “feel-good” president, the 1965 cycle’s 2Q turning point was marked by the 1979 Iran Hostage crisis (Table 1) and soon after, the transformational conservative Reagan presidency.
Table 1 details the Sibly progressed cycles from the nation’s first PNew Moon after the Revolution (1787). But, assuming every Being has a gestational period, the U.S. actually traces back its existence to the 2Q of an earlier 1757 cycle that launched at 25°+ Gemini—perhaps the root of our often-contradictory nature? King George III, our nemesis at the time, had natal Sun, Mercury, Saturn, Venus and Neptune in that sign—coincidental? The 2Q turning point in that critical 1757 cycle saw the breakdown of our relationship with the British monarchy and stretched between 10°+ Cancer and Capricorn, putting our gestational PSun very near our eventual radix Sun at 13°+ Cancer. These 1757 Gemini cycle origins also reflect what historians like to point out about the American “experiment,” that it’s been based more on an Enlightenment-era “idea” of freedom and equality than on a set of common ethnic or cultural roots. As they say, the rest is history.
|Cycle number||P New Moon||P1Q||P2Q||P3Q|
Table 1 details the dates and quarter breakdown of these cycles, as well as the upcoming 9th cycle, which begins in 2024. (New Moon dates are bold.) Amazingly, apart from the critical gestational roots discussed above, this table basically reflects our entire history in the astrological “shorthand” of sign placements and aspects within one evolving series of cycles. Operating in tandem with these cycle milestones, however, are the progressed solar/lunar sign changes over time. Progressed ingresses of the Sibly Sun and their associated progressed Moon placements have also proven significant. See Table 2 for the raw data on those ingresses.
Notice that the progressed Sibly Moon seems to move ahead by only one sign every time the progressed Sibly Sun completes one sign and enters a new one (over 30 years). In fact, in those 30 years, the progressed Moon will have made one complete tour around the entire chart and then some. Which means over time, the U.S. Public (Moon) has evolved through experiences befitting all Zodiac signs in a full array of PSun/PMoon combinations. It’s kind of mind-boggling.
|Progressed ingress||PSun sign||PMoon sign|
|June 14, 1762||Cancer||Virgo|
|December 23, 1793||Leo||Libra|
|April 3, 1825||Virgo||Sagittarius|
|January 31, 1856||Libra||Capricorn|
|May 28, 1886||Scorpio||Pisces|
|March 31, 1916||Sagittarius||Aries|
|October 8, 1945||Capricorn||Taurus|
|March 18, 1975||Aquarius||Gemini|
|October 30, 2004||Pisces||Cancer|
Naturally, these sign shifts work in tandem with the progressed cycle phases and both impact the course of events. For instance, the Sibly PSun’s passage through Leo (1793-1825) coincided with the new nation establishing its sovereignty and administration. This was during our first post-revolutionary PNew Moon phase; the U.S. Constitution was a new document that validated our sovereign status, and the Founding Fathers were still in charge. With the PSun passing through the nation’s radix 8th and 9th houses, the move was already on to consolidate the resources and territories of the continent under U.S. control, and with the Monroe Doctrine, to do so as a matter of ideology and belief that it was our destiny to dominate this hemisphere and to stretch from sea-to-sea. This put the negotiating and relationship skills of the PMoon in Libra (beginning the cycle conjunct the Sibly 10th house Saturn) to good use, and everything was pushed along by expansion-minded PJupiter, squaring PMoon from Cancer, reinforcing the People’s sense of “destiny.” George Washington, the “Father” of the nation, died in 1799, as PSun conjoined the Sibly node at 6+ Leo.
Getting down to business
By January 1856, ten years into our 3rd progressed cycle (Table 1), the PSun entered Libra (1/1856-5/1886). The Gold Rush phenomenon of 1848-55 set the tone early in that 3rd progressed cycle, but the noble purpose of our beginnings and the euphoria of new expansion and adventurism was being slowly replaced by the more structural and systemic realities of nation-building: 1856 was during that cycle’s progressed 1Q and every time a new territory was added to the Union there would be a struggle in Congress to balance (Libra) states’ rights and federal rights. Would the new state be a “slave state” or a “free state?” Several legislative attempts were made to strike Libra compromises, but to no avail.
Traversing the Sibly 10th, the Libra PSun oversaw several major institutional developments: in the press (the 500-lb. gorilla Hearst newspapers entered the mix), in finance and industry, in science and public opinion. The Robber Barons—ruthless industrialists and financial power-players whose influence is still felt today—rose to prominence during this time by pushing the fusion of government and business interests.
Needless to say, the PMoon in Capricorn opposite PJupiter in Cancer contributed to the corporate domination of this period; slave labor would soon be a thing of the past, although the Chinese immigrants who helped build our Transcontinental Railroad (1863-1869) may have felt like slaves. By the late 1880s when this PMoon reached the nation’s 2nd house Pluto, Jim Crow law’s were passed by southern states to “disenfranchise and remove political and economic gains made by black people during the Reconstruction period.” (3) PMoon was widely conjunct Sibly Chiron in Aries and exactly square Sibly Pluto when the Emancipation Proclamation was issued in 1862: clearly, this Pluto has been prominent throughout our Chironic “trail of tears” with slavery and racism, and it continues to be so today, with our first Pluto return and another Chiron return looming ahead.
To be continued in Part 2, next week.
Bio: Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer and former educator. A graduate of the Faculty of Astrological Studies (U.K.), Raye focuses on mundane, collective-oriented astrology, with a particular interest in current affairs, culture and media, the astrology of generations, and public concerns such as education and health. For articles on all these topics, see her blog, at Diary of a Mundane Astrologer. See the Publications tab there for a list of Raye’s recent E-books on current topics, including the newly-released title, The Mundane Moon: an evolving cosmic story for “We the People”, available from Amazon.
For information about individual chart readings, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.