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Tecumseh's Curse

There was a deep mystical tradition among the Shawnee Indians of the Ohio valley, embodied in the teachings and practices of a sage named Tenskwatawa, also known as "the Prophet." He and his brother, the great Chief Tecumseh, felt that all Indians were one people, and insisted that only with the consent of all—could land rightly be ceded by or purchased from an individual tribe. Tecumseh and the Prophet set about to unite the tribes into an organized defense against the growing number of western settlers and the US Army so they could defend the lands they had lived on for thousands of years. For several years Tecumseh successfully journeyed from tribe to tribe, working with Indians of all sections to secure their cooperation in this great work of unification. Tecumseh was a daring visionary—a powerful orator, remarkable military chief, successful negotiator, and enthusiastic leader. Indeed, the flame of hatred for the white man burned in his heart, and he swore eternal vengeance against the white race for decimating his proud nation.

When the United States refused to recognize Tecumseh's unification principle, he bound together the Native Americans of the Old Northwest, the South, and the Eastern Mississippi Valley as a military force to defend Native American rights to the land. His plan failed with the defeat of his brother, the Shawnee Prophet, at the battle of Tippecanoe in 1811. Although history often reports the battle of Tippecanoe a draw, it broke the power of the Shawnee and became known historically as marking the beginning of the collapse of the Native American military movement.

Legend transmits that after the historic battle of Tippecanoe , Tecumseh released prisoners with a prophetic message for General William Henry Harrison—a prophecy that has come to be known as "Tecumseh's Curse." 

Harrison will win next year to be the Great Chief... He will die in his office... I who caused the Sun to darken and Red Men to give up firewater tell you Harrison will die. And after him, every Great Chief chosen every 20 years thereafter will die. And when each one dies, let everyone remember the death of our people.

Indeed, in 1841, President William Henry Harrison died of pneumonia, and for 140 years every president elected every 20 years died in office, except for Ronald Reagan who survived a close assassination attempt. (Reagan, however, did develop Alzheimer's, and was the only president to use the timing advice of an astrologer for public appearances!) Is this just coincidence or the curse from the collective wrath of millions of Native Americans? As George Bush heads toward the completion of his first term, many wonder if he will be the next victim of Tecumseh's prophetic curse.

Presidential Death Stars

For thousands of years astrologers have made a connection between the twenty-year Jupiter-Saturn cycle and major socio-cultural-political events. Jupiter and Saturn are the two most distant planets visible to the naked eye. The ancients regarded Saturn, the visible boundary between our solar system and the universe, as the "Great Chronocrator," a cosmic clock timing significant periods in human history. When faster moving Jupiter crosses over Saturn every 19.8 years, a new cycle begins oftentimes marked by cataclysmic events.

Since 1840 this conjunction has coincided with the zero-year presidential elections. When the contraction (Saturn) and expansion (Jupiter) urge merge, there is a certain wringing out of the karmic towel in human affairs. Jupiter rules politicians, Saturn rules death, and the apex of the political archetype is indeed the President. For 140 years until 1980 when the cycle was marginally broken, this conjunction occurred only in earth signs. Only the 1980 conjunction occurred in an air sign, and many astrologers attribute President Reagan's assassination escape to this elemental position. But In 2000, the Jupiter/Saturn conjunction returned once again to an earth sign. Does this portend an incipient visit to the other side by President Bush? Later, we will examine his chart.

Astrologers fall into several camps on which chart to use for the birth of the United States. One chart shows Scorpio Rising. Scorpio, co-ruled by Pluto and Mars, rules aggression, death, the atomic age, physical health, secrecy, and intensity. Sound familiar? Chart ruler Mars, god of war, sits in the Eighth House of death in America's chart forming an afflicted square to Neptune which also forms a hard aspect to the Midheaven, the point of national destiny. Though Jupiter and Saturn indeed conjoined in earth sign Taurus in 2000, the eighth harmonic, the astrological trigger of the chart, won't be squeezed again until 2005-2006. And the Jupiter/Saturn conjunction is not a precisely timed indicator, occurring every 19.8 years with the deaths averaging every 21 years.

Another popular time-tested chart is the Gemini Rising chart that I used successfully in my book The Grand Catharsis to predict many events, including the commencement date of the first Persian Gulf War. Famed astrologer Evangeline Adams also used this chart to forecast the US entry into World War II. This chart finds Aquarius—co-ruled by Saturn and Uranus—on the Midheaven, which signifies the Presidency. The Eighth House signifies death, and Capricorn sits on its cusp, making Saturn the ruler of death . Both charts present moderate evidence for this presidential death cycle.

Then again, perhaps the juju of the Native American curse is beyond the realm of Western astrological systems.

For the Record

Since Tecumseh's prophetic curse, here are the presidents every 20 years and the vice-presidents who inherited the Presidency:

  • 1840, William Henry Harrison
    Died April 6, 1841 of pneumonia.    
    Vice President John Tyler
  • 1860, Abraham Lincoln
    Assassinated April 14, 1865
    Succeeded by Vice President Andrew Johnson
  • 1880, James Garfield
    Assassinated July 2, 1881
    Succeeded by Vice President Chester Alan Arthur
  • 1900, William McKinley
    Assassinated September, 6 1901
    Succeeded by Vice President Theodore Roosevelt
  • 1920, Warren G. Harding
    Died August 2, 1923 from food poisoning
    Succeeded by Vice President Calvin Coolidge
  • 1940, Franklin D. Roosevelt
    Died April 12, 1945, stroke, medical records missing
    Succeeded by Vice President Harry Truman
  • 1960, John F. Kennedy
    Assassinated November 22, 1963
    Succeeded by Vice President Lydon Baines Johnson
  • 1980, Ronald Reagan
    Assassination attempt on March 30, 1981
    Succeeded by his Vice President George Bush by election.

  • 2000 George W. Bush
Against All Odds

From Washington through Clinton there have been 47 presidential elections where nine vice presidents inherited the Presidency—about 18 percent. There have actually been 53 Presidential inaugurations, lowering the odds of death in office to about 15 percent. But for zero years, seven out of eight died, leaving only Reagan's near miss.

Bush's Chart

Examining Bush's chart always makes me smile as it is the chart of a true charmer. When I first rewrote this article (2 years ago), transiting Jupiter in Leo had just crossed Bush's ascendant and spent most of the next six months conjoining his stellium of Leo planets, also sextiling his stellium of Libra planets. This coincided with President Bush enjoying immense popularity and command of his agenda. At that time I predicted that his walls would come tumbling down in about a year as Saturn applied in orb with his natal Sun. The application of Saturn to the conjunction with his Sun has coincided with almost a complete reversal of fortune, with Murphy's law in full operation. We are all too familiar with the details. There is also a surreal synchronicity of Reagan's passing with this conjunction amidst the hellish heat of Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 911 torture. Spirit operates in mysterious ways. Saturn conjuncts Bush's Sun on June 14th. Does Lord of Karma Saturn invoke the Spirit of Chief Tecumseh once again? Time will tell.


Ken Kalb is an astrologer and author with over 800 published articles, four books, and an astrological calendar. He is the director of Lucky Star Astrological Services. He has been the vortex of the global LightShift 2000 peace initiative, helping bring peoples of goodwill together in Spirit in collective attunements. Ken finds a wonderful wordless application of his philosophies in his Electric bicycle/Alternative Transportation business, Electric Star.

Other StarIQ articles by Ken Kalb:

A Reality Check on the Harmonic Concordance

Pluto Charged Politics

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