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A Case for the Libra Rising Chart of the United States

Astrologers over the years have put forth several charts as the natal chart of the United States. These include:

  • July 6, 1775

  • July 2, 1776

  • July 4, 1776

  • November 15, 1777

  • March 4, 1789

July 6, 1775 is the date the Second Continental Congress issued its Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms – explaining to the British why the Colonies were shooting at them. This is referred to as the War Chart of the United States.

July 2, 1776 is the date the final draft of the Declaration of Independence was presented to the Continental Congress which resolved that the Colonies were free and independent. John Adams considered this day the birth of the nation. The Congress, however, had not formally voted on the final text and the decision for independence was not public knowledge.

July 4, 1776 is the date most widely accepted. It was the day that Congress formally approved the Declaration of Independence, sent it to the printers, and made it public. It is the day the people of the United States celebrate as Independence Day.

November 15, 1777 is the date of the Articles of Confederation, the Congress’ first stab at establishing a government embracing all 13 colonies. The most common version of this is the Soltè chart proposed by astrologer David Soltè. More on this at the end.

March 4, 1789 is the date that the U.S. Constitution went into effect.

July 4, 1776

The time has always been contentious. Charts with Gemini, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, and Sagittarius rising have all been put forth.

Gemini Rising

This chart is set for 2:13 am. It is based on the false notion that Benjamin Franklin was an astrologer and chose that time for the signing. The origins of this chart are vague.

Sagittarius Rising

This chart is set for 10:15 pm London Time. It was calculated by English astrologer Ebenezer Sibly years after the event. How he came up with the time and why he used London time instead of Philadelphia time is unknown. This has become the default chart used. Its popularity is probably because it was the one that Dane Rudhyar wrote about (The Astrology of America’s Destiny) and an entire generation of astrologers (myself included) read Rudhyar like holy scripture.

Scorpio Rising

Occultist Paul Foster Case proposed a chart for 2:20 pm (Scorpio rising) based on the odd notion that Congress voted on the Declaration after it adjourned for the day. Astrologer Marc Penfield promoted a similar Scorpio rising chart for 2 pm based on the idea that it took a long time for the delegates to vote on the Declaration. It was more likely the vote was by colonial delegation rather than individuals.

Virgo and Libra

Of all proposed ascendants, the historical record makes the best case for either Virgo or Libra rising.

The Second Continental Congress opened session at the State House in Philadelphia at 9 am on July 4th, 1776. Twelve items were on the docket that day. We do not know with any precision how long any one of those 12 items took to discuss and resolve.

The first order of business was whether or not to requisition flints for the New York militia and to request that both Maryland and Delaware march their encamped militia to Philadelphia for its defense.

The second order of business was the formal reading and approval of the Declaration of Independence. The document was read, discussed, and subsequently approved with Congress authorizing its printing and providing instructions for distribution.

Historian David McCoullough writes in his book John Adams that Congress closed debate on the Declaration at 11 am and then took a vote. After approval, the president of the Congress, Charles Thompson, signed the Declaration.

Virgo remained the rising sign until 11:07 am that day. It is possible that the vote and the signing could have happened within the short seven-minute window that remained of Virgo – though unlikely. By the time the vote had been taken and the document signed, Libra would have been on the horizon.

With this in mind, I have settled on 11:34 am. This IS an arbitrary time. It is based first on the probable history and second on Jupiter being literally the highest planet in the sky. With this second point in mind, the time could be as late as 11:54 am.

So why Jupiter being highest in the sky?

The planet highest in the sky at birth provides a clue to the outward expression of personality. The higher, the more pronounced that expression. This is measured by altitude above the horizon rather than proximity to the Midheaven (although they often align).

A lot of arguments for Sagittarius rising point to American mobility and restlessness to explore – the independent cowboy ethos of Americans. These are reasonable points to an extent, but they are derived more from an idealistic and mythical view of the United States. The number of Americans who actually have embodied those traits is quite small.

For every family who risked the dangers of the Oregon trail, there were hundreds others who remained in their farms, towns, and cities. Those pioneer families that braved the trail were not looking for adventure, they left because there was nothing for them in the east. They took to the trail out necessity and a hope for a better life at the end of that trail.

As to those independent cowboys – most were not cowboys. Most were men unable to socialize, unwilling to participate in civilized life, or lived as though no rules or laws applied to them.

Americans are a people of generosity, big ideas and opinions, overblown self-regard, large meal portions, optimism, and the feeling that there aren’t really any limits to what Americans can achieve. These are not especially Sagittarian traits but they are indicative of Jupiter – which happens to rule Sagittarius.

Given this rationale, I use the following chart (yes, I use whole sign houses):

Naturally, I don’t expect anyone to toss the version of the chart they use, I just wanted to explain why I use this particular version.

10th House Cancer Conjunction

Libra rising puts the Sun/Jupiter/Venus conjunction in Cancer at the top of the chart. This, more than anything, reflects the United States’ image as the beacon of possibility and freedom that has drawn immigrants from around the world from its earliest days. Even now, as troubled as things are in this country, that image still holds and continues to draw immigrants in great numbers.

Libra 1st House

The key points of Libra are balance and harmony at its best, paralyzing indecisiveness and manipulation at its worst. Libra rising puts Saturn in the first house. Saturn – exalted in Libra – shows the American belief in and preference for the rule of law.

The United States has a dynamic and powerful configuration of declinations at the boundaries (23˚26). At the north end is a rolling parallel of the Sun, Jupiter, Venus, and Mars – with Venus and Mars both beyond the boundary. At the south end is Pluto, also beyond the boundary. It forms a contra-parallel with the rolling parallel at the north end.What has not changed are6 the cultural affiliations to those divisions– and those divisions sometimes run deep.

Libra tries to balance and reconcile seemingly opposing views and generally manages it. Having Saturn in its exaltation helps, as both America’s laws and its institutions try to treat everyone equally.

Unfortunately, those Libra ideals conflict with America’s Cancer side. Cancer is more tribal by nature and those tribal instincts can, and do, contort those Libra ideals. As a result, America’s actions frequently contradict its stated ideals and beliefs.


The United States has a dynamic and powerful configuration of declinations at the boundaries (23˚27’). At the north end is a rolling parallel of the Sun, Jupiter, Venus, and Mars – with Venus and Mars both beyond the boundary. At the south end is Pluto, also beyond the boundary. It forms a contra-parallel with the rolling parallel at the north end.

Transiting declinations to one end or the other of this configuration can release significant energy. During the Second World War transiting Pluto’s declination was parallel that natal rolling parallel and contra-parallel its own natal declination. The energy released made it possible for the United States to harness all its resources – including its people – to the single purpose of prosecuting and winning the war – ending it with the only wartime use of nuclear weapons – a distinctly Plutonian use of force.


The United States has Mars in Gemini in the 9th house. This Mars is impatient, curious, and restless - and Americans, as a rule, tend to be both restless and impatient. They prefer doing something rather than doing nothing – even if that something is not in their long-term best interest.

The second thing about this Mars is its contra-parallel with Pluto. America is not, per se, a militaristic society. Until World War Two, we historically maintained a very small standing military. That said, Americans are attracted to violent and militaristic things: boxing, entertainment wrestling, football, video games, action movies. We admire men of action – men who adhere to their own code (instead of the law) and wreak justice on evildoers with skilled violence.

This violence is often born out of impatience – frequently causing trouble. It is the impetus for the United States’ tendency toward military action to achieve its goals: its use of unrelenting violence to clear the land it wanted of indigenous tribes, its thin pretexts for war against Mexico, Spain, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, and Iraq.

The Moon

America’s 5th house Moon in Aquarius represents the mood or feelings of the people as a whole. It suggests that American’s belief in America’s ideals as expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution (while blithely ignoring the naughty bits) is heartfelt. Our mythology and our stories largely support the notion that we are a fair and righteous people.

But Aquarius also carries with it a certain blindness of certainty – the certainty that we are somehow exceptional and entitled to be treated that way. The blindness that we are somehow apart from the rest of the world – that we can participate or interfere in the world when and where we choose with little consequence.

But the American Moon is quincunx Mercury in Cancer and quincunx Neptune in Virgo in the 12th house. This is often a problem. Mercury and Neptune are sextile – we believe what we believe irrespective of evidence or sometimes even what is in front of our faces. Most of the time, this is not a problem - just not all the time.

With this sextile in quincunx with the Moon, Americans can be seen as holding fast to beliefs that contradict each other – that are hard to actually reconcile. This affects people on all sides of the political spectrum. When we argue with each other over important details, we argue with the conviction that we are right and the other side is wrong - which is less like arguing and more like preaching.


Our natal Pluto in Capricorn has favored us with both power and the competence to achieve truly remarkable feats: the Panama Canal, the Moon landings, the super-human effort that allowed us to win a global war on two fronts simultaneously. That power and competence are being challenged in 2021 as Pluto makes its first return. America’s global dominance is being challenged by China. Our capacity for truly remarkable feats is being challenged both by a diminished competence to execute on those feats and an uncertainty that we can or should even do them.

The Rest

There is a great deal of information this chart can provide even after stripping out the Ascendant and houses. I have talked about the significance of America’s Uranus in Gemini and Neptune in Virgo elsewhere. There’s a whole other conversation around the four major asteroids, Chiron, the Black Moon, and maybe even Eris.

The Elite

One point I’d like to make is this: I consider the July 4th chart to be the chart of the People of the United States. But the United States – like all human organizations – is hierarchic. There are always people in charge, people whose actions and decisions affect the country as a whole. This cohort of people, by and large, control both the economics and the politics of the nation. This group can be referred to as the Elite.

It was the Elite who promoted and then prosecuted the American Revolution and it was the Elite who established the first government – the Articles of Confederation. That chart, aka the Soltè chart – while not the chart of the United States – is the chart of the economic/political elite that runs the country.

… but that is a whole other discussion.


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