United States Natal and Progressed.  Click to see the horoscope.

My apologies for the long hiatus – almost a year. Decent bloggers probably don’t let a year pass between blog-entries, but I make no claim to decency on any level. Besides, I’ve had on my plate a major (non-astrological) writing project that took up much more time than I’d anticipated.


Recent domestic and international events have convinced me that I should talk about secondary progressed (SP) Mars’ retrograde movement in the United States horoscope, a movement ushered in by Mars’ retrograde station on July 19, 2006. SP Mars’ retrograde movement helps to account for the reports of police departments, armed like commando units, focusing their ire on U.S. citizens. It also accounts for some important international developments, particularly the series of fruitless – or, if you prefer, catastrophic – United States military interventions over the past several decades. Those two developments have the same astrological root.

In the decades leading up to 2006, the United States had less and less success in its overseas military ventures. If we go back to the 1940’s, we see what most people consider success, at least as measured by stated objectives, as the United States played a central role in the defeat of Nazi Germany. WWII coincided with two important astrological events relevant to our discussion of: SP Mars entered the shadow of the retrograde in 1940; SP Mars conjoined the U.S. midheaven in 1945. (In entering the shadow of the retrograde, SP Mars moves past the degree at which it will eventually make its direct station: 0 Libra, the degree where the direct station occurs in 2086.) SP Mars’ conjunction with the midheaven (MC) suggests public assertiveness; in a nation’s horoscope, it can point to military intervention. SP Mars’ subsequent movement through the 10th house, which will take a few centuries, marks a period of public assertion, probably via the military (ruled by Mars). Because the midheaven symbolizes outward expression, and because Mars symbolizes the military, SP Mars on the midheaven (MC) coincided with a powerful externalized expression of military might. However, once in the aforementioned shadow, SP Mars did not provide (so to speak) the sought-after success. This became increasingly evident as the decades passed, but even WWII led directly into the cold war, and the victory came with the assistance of Josef Stalin, allied with Hitler early on and with the Allies later.

In the early 1950’s, United States troops fought in Korea, under the United Nations banner, and though some consider that war a victory of sorts, most consider it a stalemate. SP Mars squared Jupiter, the greater benefic, early in 1954, an aspect that accounts for whatever success the troops had. After that, as Mars slowed down, moving steadily toward the retrograde station, the United States had less and less success in foreign wars, with its foreign military interventions generally doing more harm than good. The invasions of Vietnam and Iraq epitomize the trend. By the time of the precise station, the Iraq invasion had clearly stalled, having created millions of refugees and sown the seeds for future difficulties in which armed intervention would prove fruitless, even disastrous. The period also saw the beginnings of large-scale surveillance of the domestic population, a development that gained momentum and focus after the retrograde station.

In a future entry, we can look at some of the significant events associated with the final five decades of the 20th century (particularly the events of 1974-1979, when SP Mars squared the US Sun and conjoined the US Saturn); for now, though, let’s turn our attention to domestic developments, for as the US military had less and less success in foreign interventions, domestic law enforcement agencies (DLEA) took on increasingly militaristic postures. After the retrograde station, DLEA armed themselves with weaponry previously available only to military units. From an astrological point of view, this makes perfect sense, as SP Mars retrograde suggests an inward turn for the often-aggressive energies of Mars.

Mars symbolizes assertion, aggression, and outer directed activity. In direct motion, Mars brings (so to speak) assertive, sometimes aggressive (depending on various horoscope factors) action. In a nation’s horoscope, Mars has much to do with the military, the institution usually left in charge of national assertions; Mars wants to go outward, and when in direct motion, he will generally do so. However, the retrograde station points to a time when the country will have difficulty achieving stated objectives in military activity, and the decades leading up to that station bring increased difficulty in moving forward successfully. But Mars still symbolizes assertion, aggression, and action, so as he turns retrograde, we see militarized police departments turning against the citizens and individual policemen shooting or brutalizing individual citizens. During the retrograde period, Mars turns inward, and though in a perfect world such an astrological development might mean having soldiers put solar collectors on the rooves of millions of houses (at far less cost than it takes to blow the roofs off of the houses of Iraqi citizens, we might add), in the decidedly imperfect world in which we live, the retrograde turn of SP Mars has manifested as difficulties in international conflict  (external) coinciding with an increased emphasis on battling citizens (internal) seen as threats. The commando-like DPEA provide a sign of SP Mars retrograde: the military has made an inward turn.

It may have occurred to you that many of the individuals shot or brutalized by domestic law enforcement personnel (DLEP) have dark skin. Most of these people have apparently done nothing wrong, yet they find that they have somehow metamorphosed, in the eyes of the DLEA, into dangerous criminals. We could point to numerous examples, of course, from all parts of the country. Most of these darker-skinned people have been men, for Mars rules drives generally considered male. (In years past, of course, women of color have also found themselves under a rather different sort of attack, but a discussion of that would take us a bit far afield.)

This projection of dark, threatening energy onto dark-skinned people goes back to the beginnings of United States’ history. Throughout that history, such people have found themselves on the receiving end of various projectiles (e.g. missiles and bullets; as Marie Louise von Franz wrote decades ago, getting hit by someone’s projection often feels like getting hit by a projectile). The pattern appeared quite starkly in the ways the invading Europeans viewed Native Americans: as shadowy and savage people, a projection that, like most projections, took little account of the relevant facts. Africans also found themselves in the crosshairs, both as residents of lands Europeans desired and later as slaves in various parts of the “New World.” Also, once the military had nearly exterminated the native population, the government launched an attack on the Philippines, beginning a string of military interventions in distant places inhabited by dark-skinned people. In the present era, various Middle Eastern people have served as hooks for the United States’ projections.

Two main factors in the United States horoscope point to these projection-tendencies: the Mercury-Pluto opposition and Mars in Gemini in the 7th house.

  1. The Mercury-Pluto opposition symbolizes the national tendency to project the Plutonic energy outward. Pluto symbolizes darkness, the underworld, the complexes of unconscious mind – with the powers of the unconscious and the instincts. It has to do with much else besides, of course, but in a nation’s horoscope, Pluto often arises as a rather unpleasant drive for power and control; when projected onto others, those others will appear negatively Plutonic: obsessed with shadowy motives or the desire for more power, even if only to control their own lives, interpreted as threatening by the overlords; full of a dark resentment that constantly threatens to erupt simply because overlords have kept it so tightly in check. Pluto here has to do with the projection of primitive drives onto others; the Mercury-Pluto opposition suggests that the United States, considered as an aggregate, will have difficulty owning those drives as part of the national character. The same energies will therefore arise through people who will seem to carry not the great potential for transformation also associated with Pluto, but a dark, seething anger, moving beneath the centers of power, out of sight and out of only the conscious mind. This opposition brings a tendency for the national aggregate to play the role of Mercury in Cancer while projecting Pluto onto others, a pattern that lies behind the historical patterns just mentioned. Playing the role of Mercury in Cancer, people will see themselves as concerned only with their own security, their own homes, their own feelings, and their own privacy; they will project Pluto onto the best available hook – or, as discussed above, onto a series of hooks.
  2. Mars’ placement in the 7th house in Gemini. The seventh house symbolizes what a person meets and seeks in one-to-one partnerships.  Traditionally called the house of marriage and open enemies, it has a lot to do with both vital human connections and conflict. In a nation’s horoscope, it symbolizes both alliances and conflict; Mars there suggests lots of the latter. It position also suggests a tendency to project Mars onto other nations and groups, for the 7th has a lot to do with what one projects onto others. Thus the United States has an inveterate tendency to see other nations or people as instigators of aggression. We should hardly find it surprising, then, that the invading Europeans consistently and constantly interpreted Native Americans as the aggressors, even though any objective observer would have come to a rather different conclusion. We could also cite a series of more recent examples. How does Gemini enter the picture? Commonly connected with curiosity, flexibility, wit, and verbal communication of all sorts, less commonly connected with work involving the hands and fingers (both of which suggest a chap named Bob Dylan, known for his flexibility, wit, and words, now, in addition to his songwriting, crafting iron sculptures, work presumably bringing the hands and fingers into play in ways not connected with guitars and pianos), Gemini has a connection with various mythic sets of twins – often composed of a dark twin and a light twin. Thus Gemini’s connection with projection of negative energy onto a darker “brother.” I don’t mean that Geminis project more often or more virulently than do people born under other signs. The available evidence certainly doesn’t suggest that conclusion. However, much evidence does suggest that collectives (e.g. nations) manifest the least enlightened elements of any astrological symbol. That evidence suggests, more generally, that when we interpret an astrological symbol as a collective indicator, we should expect that symbol to manifest its more problematic elements. Thus though a person with Mars in Gemini in the 7th might assert herself forcefully and verbally as a counselor, or do excellent and physically-oriented work with troubled people (to suggest just two possibilities), a nation with Mars in Gemini in the 7th will likely project it onto “enemies,” seeing other countries as threats, as driven by aggression, and as manifestations of the dark twin of the Gemini symbolism.

Some technical notes: Secondary progressed planets do not appear in the sky. Astrologers determine progressed positions by mathematical formulae. For secondary progressions, they consider a year in the ephemeris (a book giving daily planetary positions) to equal a year of progressed time. Thus the secondary progressions for the 20th year equal the planetary positions for the 20th day after the birthday.

Next: the history of the dark twin projections in the collective: the Neptune-Pluto conjunctions

See also: chapter 10 of my Your Hidden Face: Projection in the Horoscope (AFA 2014)


  1. VERY good Tim, but I am left with the question: “Where is the US headed…? The predictive aspect is what is crucial, I think…What is next?

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