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Astrology by Hand Week 40

The Chart of John McCain

During the last presidential campaign, only one candidate seriously challenged George W. Bush for the Republican nomination: Senator John McCain of Arizona. It can be argued seriously that McCain captured the popular imagination far more than Bush has or is likely to. This week, we are going to look at McCain’s chart. It seems especially appropriate in view of the fact that campaign finance reform, one of McCain’s major issues, has been debated in Congress this week.

Astrology Horoscope: John McCainAccording to Astrodatabank, John McCain was born on August 29, 1936 at 9:00 am EST, somewhere in the Panama Canal zone, with coordinates given as longitude 79W48 and latitude 9N10. The time is given as being “from memory.” The time has a rounded-off flavor, but fortunately the house cusps are all in the middle of signs. So, unless the time is wildly off, we do know which signs affect which houses.

The Basics of the Chart

McCain’s Sun is in Virgo, his rising degree is in Libra and his Moon is in Capricorn. While these three signs only give a general description of a person, they do say some things about McCain that are relevant even without going to the rest of the chart. First of all, the combination of a Virgo Sun with a Capricorn Moon (both earth signs) suggests that we are not dealing with a political ideologue here, but a very pragmatic individual with high standards as to what is and is not correct. This comes from the nature of the element earth, which in human beings is generally oriented toward the real world and to getting results, and both Virgo and Capricorn have quite a strong sense of right and wrong.

I am fond of saying that there are three kinds of politicians: There are liberals, conservatives and then there are honest men and women. This last group seems to some to be liberal, to some conservative and others somewhere in between. What makes them different is that they are not strongly attached to an abstract political philosophy, but prefer to do whatever needs to be done to get the desired results, whatever it may look like to others. This might help to explain why McCain seems puzzling to both liberals and conservatives. His positions on most issues are broadly conservative, but his position on campaign finance reform seems quite liberal.

Saturn Is His Ascendant Ruler

His rising sign which is Libra indicates a strong need for balance and justice. This is made even more significant by the role of Saturn with regard to Libra. As I mentioned several weeks ago, more than one planet rules each sign. In Libra, we have Venus as the sign ruler and Saturn as the exaltation ruler. And, as I also mentioned a few weeks ago, Saturn rules all air signs in daytime charts. McCain’s was a daytime birth. Thus Saturn has two rulership modes over Libra, the rising sign, which gives Saturn a stronger rulership over the rising degree than Venus. This increases McCain’s tendency to be conservative, but the ancients describe Saturn in the daytime as being especially concerned with fair order and justice. As I say to my students and clients, Saturn in the daytime is discipline; Saturn at night is more like repression.

Now, it is always desirable to look at the ruler(s) of a rising degree when reading a chart. McCain’s Saturn is in Pisces in the Sixth House, and Venus, the sign-ruler of the Ascendant, is in Virgo in the Twelfth. On the face of it, neither of these is exactly wonderfully placed, but let’s remember that George W. Bush’s chart has the Sun ruling the Ascendant in the Twelfth and he is still president.

Again, according to medieval sources, when there are two rulers of an Ascendant, you take the one with more rulership over the rising degree if the rulers are otherwise more or less equal. Well, in addition to Saturn’s having stronger rulership than Venus, these two rulers are also NOT equal. McCain’s Venus is in the Twelfth House, the more difficult of these two difficult houses, and it is in Virgo, the sign of its fall, which indicates that Venus does not function terribly well. Saturn is in the slightly better house and has no special weakness in Pisces, and in fact has some features that actually strengthen it. We’ll talk more about that next week.

For the moment I would like to point out something that is also true of these combinations. Venus and Saturn are only a bit less than three degrees out of an exact opposition (180 degrees apart). Having the two main planets connected with the rising sign and degree in this opposition relationship definitely introduces some instability and difficulty into life. In particular, the Twelfth House is a place of confinement and imprisonment. Having one rising sign ruler opposed to the other involving the Twelfth House is the best indication in the chart of the fact that McCain spent quite a considerable time as a POW in North Vietnam. However, as we will see next week, there are things in this chart that indicate that he would be able to turn this to his advantage at some point in his life, no matter how difficult it may have been at the time.



Rob Hand, author of Planets in Transit and other works, is now involved in the translation and publication of texts regarding ancient and medieval astrology through ARHAT Media Inc.
View the entire Astrology by Hand Library.

Visit the author's website.

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For more information about Rob Hand, click here.

Other StarIQ articles by Rob Hand:

  • Astrology by Hand 13   7/3/2003
  • Astrology by Hand 1   4/10/2003
  • Astrology by Hand 14   8/11/2001
  • Astrology by Hand 13   8/4/2001
  • Astrology by Hand 11   7/21/2001
  • Astrology by Hand 46   5/5/2001

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