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Astrology at Work: Lyndon Johnson

The upcoming HBO movie, All the Way, about the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Bill has got me thinking about the horoscope of Lyndon B. Johnson. It is a chart for which we do not have a specific, recorded time.  The best we can do is to go by his mother, who claimed that he was born at sunrise. The chart I’m using was done for 5:40 AM. (Click on Lyndon Johnson to see the horoscope.)

Several things make me think that this chart is at least close to correct. It gives him a Leo Ascendant with Jupiter and Mars hovering on either side of the ascending degree. Johnson possessed a larger than life personality (Jupiter) that allowed him to rise from obscure east Texas origins to the highest office in the land. He was also known for his bullying tactics (Mars). As Senate Majority Whip he used both political and physical intimidation to keep his party in line.

This chart also places Johnson’s Sun and Moon, both in Virgo, in his First House. We generally consider Virgo to be a quiet sign, but with a Leo Ascendant and Jupiter and Mars nearby, Johnson was loud and proud when it came to his Virgo traits. Virgo is an Earth sign, and few U.S. presidents have been as earthy as Johnson. He was known for his crudity and his plain speech.  Johnson’s earthiness caused many to underestimate the analytical capacities of his mind, a costly mistake people often make with Virgo.

Another interesting feature in this chart is the quincunx between Johnson’s Moon and Saturn. Whenever Saturn afflicts the Moon we think of depressive tendencies. The quincunx aspect describes traits that surprise, and seem to come out of nowhere. Johnson was subject to periods of pronounced self-doubt during which he talked incessantly about dying. Given the exaggerated self-confidence that he generally exuded, these depressive fits frequently took people off guard.

During the period in 1964, when Johnson was battling to get the Civil Rights Bill through congress, Uranus was in Virgo. It moved back and forth across Johnson’s Moon. Johnson needed to do something that had never been done before. He needed to transcend the status quo.  He rebelled against his southern roots and the opinions of many of his constituents to do the right thing.

At the same time, Saturn was opposing Johnson’s Virgo Sun. This is a debilitation aspect and, for Johnson, it activated the depressive qualities inherent in his natal Saturn to Moon quincunx. Johnson was struggling to escape the shadow of the recently assassinated John F. Kennedy. In his heart, he knew he could never match Kennedy’s Gemini charm and glibness. He would have to prove his worth by using the practical gifts of his Virgo Sun to get results.

The combination of these two aspects made Johnson a great president. Unfortunately, the Civil Right Act would prove to be the high point of his administration. By the time he was reelected in Nov. 1964 his secondary progressed Mars was moving into an opposition aspect to his natal Saturn. The quagmire of Vietnam was looming, and it would eventually drain Johnson on all levels: physically, psychologically and politically.