See Part 1 of of Farewell to the Fortieth
A realistic view of Ronald Reagan, his character, ideology and policies can be gleaned by examining his Pluto-ruled natal chart. It’s all there in black and white. (See chart.) Beneath the radar, most of the liberal press spent the funeral week issuing “stinging” indictments of Reagan’s Scorpionic behavior. An editorial in The Nation (June 28, 2004) entitled “The Real Reagan Legacy” called Reagan “divisive and disingenuous” (note his Pluto in Gemini in the Seventh House of relations with others) and criticized the media coverage of the “hail-to-the-chief celebration” as “romanticized (Venus) rather than a realistic examination of what this man did for, or to the country and the world.” It continues, “Death does not warrant the re-writing of a life. …Reagan was the worst American leader since Herbert Hoover.” (Editor's note: There are many different birth times for Ronald Reagan. See the author's comments below.*)
For one so prominent, Reagan’s chart is enigmatic. His Tenth House is weak, most of his planets are below the horizon (with those above in projected houses) his politician’s Aquarian Sun is unfavorably aspected and “Where’s Leo?” His strong Capricorn Second House shows that he clearly fancied himself executive material—chief executive that is. The real action in this chart is found in the Twelfth House/sixth house axis, containing his Scorpio/Taurus lunar nodes. It is here we find “essential Reagan.” Clearly, this lifetime is a continuation of a karmic history of power and influence. Reagan’s South Node/Jupiter (remember, Jupiter is king of the gods) conjunction in Scorpio in the Piscean ruled Twelfth House shows that he has wielded considerable power in past lifetimes, most likely in some type of religious hierarchy. One could speculate that his apparent indifference to criticism regarding seeking high office in the late years of life is a karmic throwback. For church officials, such senior promotion is routine. Reagan’s North Node/Moon conjunction in the Virgo ruled Sixth House shows his destiny in this life to exercise power in a secular setting as a “servant of the people”. His Tenth House Virgo cusp indicates that he will perform this service in the government. However, examining Reagan’s record of governance, it often seems his (South Node) allegiance to God and his own moral authority (see also the Leo Ninth House of religious leadership) overshadow his accountability to earthly institutions, including Congress and the American people—the Iran/Contra affair being the prime example.
No More Mr. Nice Guy
Reagan’s strong Jupiterian personality, his charm, “sunny-ness,” optimism and his “Irish luck,” an ethnic heritage that he possessed in abundance, are products of Sagittarius in his First House, linked to Jupiter in the Twelfth (a dispositorship). His was a persona well honed in past incarnations—a “face he’d grown accustomed to,” if you will. The public rarely (if ever) saw the man behind the mask. Reagan’s dark side was well hidden behind an image that he perfected in Hollywood, the temple where he served his apprenticeship. Commentators have noted that Reagan used techniques he learned in film and acting to gloss over his shortcomings, manipulate his media image and successfully obfuscate controversial issues with a savvy PR strategy. Perhaps we should have paid more “attention to that man behind the curtain.” Reagan’s “Mr. Nice Guy” image concealed much of his Scorpionic behavior. For example, his support for corrupt dictators like Chile’s Pinochet and Saddam Hussein remained largely unchallenged during his term in office. When the Iran/Contra scandal broke, Jupiter shielded him “like Teflon”—truth, eventually, but no consequences. A Twelfth House Jupiter placement is protection against one’s hidden enemies. Reagan even survived an assassination attempt in1981, and in so doing broke the curse on death in office to which so many presidents elected in the opening year of a decade had succumbed.
The Nodes, a Symbiotic Balance
The Moon’s Nodes indicate the karmic legacy of one’s past lives and the “destiny path” of the current life. The nodes are oppositional like a see-saw, interdependent and symbiotic. Individuals who are not on a conscious journey of personal evolution will automatically repeat the habitual behavior of the shadow side of the nodes—generally regarded as negative and dysfunctional. Reagan’s manifestations of Scorpio and Taurus fall into this category. He employed them often but not well. Scorpio became the power source for Taurean) excess. Big game, big boys, big money . Reagan cozied up to big business and to the military industrial establishment and used US economic and military might as a club against the Soviets. It is difficult to reconcile his stance vis a vis the Russian “evil empire” with his apparent lack of concern for the human right abuses of the ruthless dictators with whom he was willing to do business. (His duplicitous ness is evidenced by the dispositorship between his Scorpion South Node and his Pluto in Gemini.) Reagan had a “polyannish” attitude (Jupiter) regarding the potential consequences of his transgressions.
Reagan is credited with ending the cold war by bankrupting the Soviet Union in a protracted arms race. However, critics have cited missteps that could have lead to an earlier and less costly resolution and an additional strong potential for bi-lateral nuclear disarmament. Instead, Reagan stood firm on his “Star Wars” initiative, seen by some as a fantasy and which, in reality, proved unworkable (all south nodal reflections). The nodal symbiosis is never more apparent than in Reagan’s economic policies. George H.W. Bush could have been reading Reagan’s chart when he coined the term “voodoo economics.” “Reaganomics” formed the basis for policies in place today. Reagan cut taxes, enriched corporations (Scorpio) and the wealthy, and slashed welfare and social service (Sixth House) programs (remember ketchup as a vegetable?) The “trickle down” theory failed in practice and the deficit soared, endangering the future health (Sixth House) of the country’s economy (Taurus Moon--the people’s money). On a positive note, Reagan’s brush with death, in Scorpion transformational fashion pushed him to embrace his North Node commitment to service. He is known to have declared to friends “Any time I have left on Earth now belongs to the big fellow upstairs”. His devotion to his mission (Taurus North Node) is unquestionable and his strong religious beliefs (Jupiter in the Twelfth House) continued to source many of his (Sixth House) public policies . Reviews are mixed on both accounts.
Alzheimer's—An Ironic Ending
On a sadder note, the cruel irony of the Alzheimers, from which Reagan suffered for ten years until his death, is that it blurs the distinctions between reality and fantasy. In this regard, the disease was a kind of Jupiterian magnification of Piscean (Twelfth House) tendencies that Reagan not only possessed, but according to many, indulged. He was known as a great storyteller (Pisces)—and the veracity of his fables was often questionable. Aides reported that he sometimes came to believe his own fabrications. Reagan began life in a (Piscean) fog –his vision clouded until late adolescence by undiagnosed acute myopia. In the end, his world shrank again as he became imprisoned (Twelfth House) by his deteriorating mind.
Clearly, this was, finally, his time to “go back home.” Signs abound. Venus retrograded on May 17 th on the exact degree (26 Gemini), of Reagan’s Pluto (death), and Saturn was transiting his Eighth House (Pluto ruled). On the day he died, Mars made an exact conjunction to his Neptune in Cancer—as if to say “C’mon buddy, you’re outa here; time to go home.”
Reagan rose to political power, Scorpion-like, as the phoenix, out of the ashes of Watts, the Los Angeles ghetto that was the scene of riots in the summer of 1965. The following year, in the California gubernatorial election, Ronald Reagan became the “Great White Hope” of conservatives who were energized in a backlash against the civil rights movement. He ran on a strong law and order platform. His constituents were members of the Pluto in Cancer generation, the bedrock of the moral majority whose concerns with security and good old fashioned family values outweighed all other considerations. Reagan was swept into office in a landslide by disaffected voters who were fearful of the collapse of traditional society. The first Reagan Democrats were Californians whose hatred and fear trumped all other political issues. Reagan would play this card again. Writing in American Heritage Magazine in 1996 (October), Mathew Dallek called Reagan’s election as Governor of California, “the overthrow of liberalism and the great conservative political upheaval of the century.” His legacy is far-reaching.
A Reversal of Fortune
During the 1966 election, as striking symbols, the transiting nodes (along with the Sun, Venus and Neptune) were in Scorpio (police power, law and order) and Taurus (traditional values and fear of change). Reagan’s birth chart has these same nodes, aligning him with the prevailing sentiments. He was truly “a man for his times,” Reagan’s shadow mirrored that of America. We are currently in a Scorpio/Taurus nodal return, so Reagan’s death chart has these same nodes. (Reagan both entered and left the political scene in a nodal return.)
In this repetition of the cycle, his death could symbolize a break with the past. Other factors, including our all important entry into the Aquarian Age, lobby for a more evolved expression of the Scorpio/Taurus nodes in today’s world—a transformation of values. Death always symbolizes both an ending and a new beginning. Times have changed and the tide is turning. While the country is polarized (Pluto), just as extremism energized conservatives to organize in the 1960’s, liberals and progressives are following suit in 2004. A backlash is forming on many fronts including the environment, civil rights, women’s rights, the economy, education, entitlement programs and the war in Iraq. With Venus opposing Pluto, and both planets retrograde, we could be in for a reversal of fortune.
*Author's note on Reagan's time of birth: The chart used (2:04 am) was posted on Zodiacal Zephyr. No source was given. It may have been the one rectified to the 1:57 time rectified by Ralph Kraum, one of Reagan's personal astrologers. The only difference is 28 degrees of Scorpio rising instead of 29 (I like the karmic degree) and the interception moves from Gemini/Sag to Cancer/Capricorn when using Placidus houses.