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Astrology by Hand

A column by Robert Hand

George W. Bush: The New President of the United States

(Editor's Note: The following articles were written in 2001, therefore they deal with politicians and events of that time. Still, they are interesting both historically and from a point of view of chart interpretation.)

We have a new president now, and it might be interesting to look at something in his chart and see what comes out of it. But before going on, I just want to say that I was not and am not a supporter of George W. Bush, but I will be as even-handed as possible in what I say here (no pun intended).

George W. Bush was born on July 6, 1946, at 7:26 am EDT in New Haven, Connecticut. I do not have the source of this chart, but it does seem to be the one generally used. What I want to focus on here is something in his chart that seems to be inconsistent with his becoming president, at least according to most conventional astrology. George W. Bush has a Twelfth House Sun!

What Is a House?

For those who are beginners in astrology, let me say the following: Almost everyone knows that there are twelve signs in the zodiac. But there are also twelve houses. These are used to pide the chart into sections based on the degree of the zodiac rising in east. They indicate areas of life in which the planets and signs manifest themselves. To determine the houses, we need to know not only the exact time of birth, but also the latitude and longitude of the birthplace. The date, time and place comprise a complete set of birth data. Without all three of these we cannot determine where the twelve houses are and what is in them.

George W. has 7 degrees and 7 minutes of the sign Leo rising. His Sun is at 13 degrees and 47 minutes of Cancer. Now astrologers do not completely agree on the best way to pide the chart into houses, but in George W.’s case almost all systems would agree that Bush’s Sun is in the Twelfth House.

What’s Wrong With a Twelfth House Sun?

So what’s the problem? The Twelfth House has a pretty bad reputation in astrology. It is supposed to signify things like “self-undoing,” imprisonment, secrets in general, secret enemies, seclusion and generally being withdrawn from the world, and it is usually regarded as being one of the worst houses in the chart. But to be fair, it is also said to signify enlightenment, spiritual retreat and a very high regard for all things mystical and spiritual.

But whatever it may indicate, it is generally agreed that the Sun in the Twelfth House is not very good for someone who has to be out and about in the world the way a politician has to be, nor is it supposed to be good for being in charge or command. Alan Leo, who wrote at the beginning of the twentieth century, did say that a Twelfth House Sun could indicate someone who starts out life in difficulty and gradually achieves success by his or her own efforts.

So George W. Bush has become president despite a Sun that is supposed to indicate a withdrawn, secretive nature, who does not like to be in the limelight. But here he is in the ultimate limelight. What is going on here?

We do know some things about his life and behavior. He values his privacy, and apparently more so than most presidents. All through the campaign he went home to his ranch every weekend and did not interact with the media any more than necessary during those times. But this is also a characteristic of a home-loving Cancer. Where is his Twelfth House Sun?

It may be too early to tell, but it seems clear that Bush does not exhibit the extreme qualities of the Twelfth House. He is not a recluse, and obviously does have a capacity for a public life. However, at the same time, the public does not really know who George W. Bush is. For example, during the campaign he made a point of not clearly distinguishing himself from Al Gore except on issues such as religion and personal integrity, things he rightly or wrongly attacked Gore for not having. But on other issues he was extremely unclear even when he took a position. This is a Twelfth House quality.

The Twelfth House Sun and the Current Administration

I suggest that what we are going to see during his administration will be the following: 1) George W. Bush will continue to carry on as much of his private life as possible away from the media. 2) More than is usual, the public will have little idea of what is going in Bush’s administration. 3) What we see is not quite what we are going to get.

I have long suspected that Bush is not so much going to be the head of our government as the public head of a committee that will actually be in charge. Some of the other members of that committee will have almost as much influence as Bush. None of these things need be negative in terms of the outcome, but I think that we can say that Bush’s administration is going to be one of the less straightforward and less open ones in our history. Given some of the things that have happened over the last several administrations, that may be saying a lot.

More on George W.

We talked about our new president and his Twelfth House Sun. We asked the question,

How could he become president when he has something in his chart which is so unpresidential, namely, the Twelfth House Sun?

There are two possible answers. The first is one that most modern astrologers would give. Most of us believe that with wisdom, patience and understanding, one can overcome the negative effects of almost any astrological indication and live out only its best and highest possible manifestations. People do this all the time. But a Twelfth House Sun usually indicates a “behind the scenes” kind of person. There is nothing wrong with that. There is really nothing to be “overcome.” But we are still left with the question of why someone with George W. Bush's chart would even want to be in the limelight.

This leads to the second possibility. Could there be something in the chart that suggests that Bush might want to be out in the public eye even if there are Twelfth House qualities that he might still exhibit? I believe that there is. But to show you how this might be the case, we are going to have to get into a somewhat more complicated level of astrology than we did up until now.

So far, we talked about a single factor, the Twelfth House Sun. As everyone who studies astrology knows, astrology doesn’t work because of single factors any more than a sentence in language contains meaning because of only one word. It is the relationship among the words that makes a sentence, and it is the relationships among astrological factors that make statements about the person.

What makes Bush’s chart interesting is something called “reception.” And this in turn is based on another idea, “rulership.” We need to take up rulership first.

The Signs and the Planets, the Connection

Each sign is associated with planets that are said to “rule” that sign. It is actually more accurate to say that such a planet “takes care” of whatever may be associated with that sign than that the planet “rules” the sign. If you have studied any astrology you know that Mars rules Aries, Venus rules Taurus, etc. This is what those of us who study traditional astrology call “domicile rulership.”

Some of you may also know that planets are exalted in signs. This is another kind of rulership. The sign in which a planet is exalted is one where the planet can best express its energy—even better than it does in the sign it rules. The Sun is exalted in Aries, the Moon in Taurus, etc. The exaltation of a planet in a sign gives that planet exaltation rulership over that sign. Just to complete things, here is a table of the domicile and exaltation rulers of the signs.                       

Sign  Domicile Ruler  Exalted Ruler
Aries Mars   Sun
Taurus Venus Moon
Gemini Mercury none
Cancer Moon Jupiter
Leo Sun none
Virgo  Mercury Mercury
Libra Venus  Saturn
Scorpio Mars none
Sagittarius Jupiter  none
Capricorn   Saturn Mars
Aquarius  Saturn none
Pisces Jupiter Venus

Okay, that’s it for the technical stuff. Let’s get on with Bush’s chart.

Bush’s Sun Is “Received”

George W. BushLet’s look at Bush’s Sun. It is in the sign Cancer. Consulting our table, we see that the rulers of Cancer are the Moon and Jupiter. Now let’s look at the chart. If we look at the Moon, we find that it is at 16 degrees of Libra. Jupiter is at 18 degrees of Libra, and the Sun is at 13 degrees of Cancer. Notice that the degree values of the positions are nearly the same, 13 to 16 to 18 for a total spread of about 5 degrees.

Now Cancer and Libra are a quarter of a circle apart. This is called a “square” for those not versed in astrology. This is a very significant angle or aspect. It is normally supposed to indicate conflict and struggle. Most modern astrologers would agree that this is not an especially “bad” square. But medieval astrology says that it is actually a “good,” i.e., a very powerful square, and readily productive of good results. Why? Because the Cancer Sun is square to Cancer’s two rulers, and any aspect or significant angle between a planet and its rulers is productive. This is called “reception.” Where modern astrology says this is not so bad, traditional astrology says this is actually good!

Also, if we look at the movement of the Moon, we can see that it is going from the position of squaring the Sun at 13 degrees of Libra (I refer to the position of the square of the Sun, not the Sun itself) to coming together (conjunction) with Jupiter at 18 Libra. The older astrologers regarded the Moon here as pushing the power of the Sun onto Jupiter. This is an extremely strong combination. So we now know that Bush’s Sun is actually quite powerful once we see the presence of the receptions.

Next we will take this one step further and we will see how all of this makes Bush’s being president even more plausible, even though most of us would agree that it is not a “classic” presidential chart, whatever that may be!

“Good” and “Bad”

Before I continue with George W. Bush, I want to say something about the words “good” and “bad” as used in last week’s column in order to forestall emails raising objections. Nothing in astrology is either inherently good or bad. It is all a matter of how it is used. But some combinations are easier to use than others. Some are very difficult indeed, requiring a great deal of skill in their use, so much so in fact that most people do not use them very well. These were traditionally regarded as “bad” combinations. Other combinations are very easy to use and these were regarded as “good” combinations. The key point for us here is that receptions, in which a planet makes a significant angle or aspect to the rulers of its sign, make more difficult combinations into less difficult or even easy ones.

Back to Bush and Triplicities

Last week, we talked about the two most well-known types of rulership, domicile (or sign) and exaltation. Most people who have studied astrology know about these two. What most of you probably do not know, unless you have studied traditional astrology, is that groups of signs called triplicities also have rulers. Here is a table that lists the triplicities and their rulers.

Day Ruler Night Ruler
Fire: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius Sun  Jupiter
Earth: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn  Venus  Moon
Air: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius Saturn Mercury
Water: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces Mars  Mars

The terms “day ruler” and “night ruler” refer to whether a chart is a daytime chart with the Sun above the horizon, or a nighttime chart with the Sun below the horizon. No modern planets (Uranus, Neptune, Pluto) are involved in this system. Triplicity rulership is not as potent as rulership by sign and exaltation, but it is potent.

George W. BushLet’s look at George W. Bush’s Midheaven. The Midheaven, or M.C., is the highest point in the chart. Bush’s is located at 24 degrees of Aries. What are the rulers of Aries? (See last week's table.) The domicile, or sign ruler, is Mars. The exaltation ruler is the Sun. Since this is a daytime chart (the Sun is in the Twelfth House, and is therefore above the horizon), the Sun is the triplicity ruler as well.

This means that the Sun is the ruler of Bush’s M.C. twice, while Mars is the ruler only once. According to traditional astrology this makes the Sun the true ruler of the M.C., more so than Mars. Now the M.C. has to do with career and social status. Through this, his Twelfth House Sun has just acquired a significance that we did not see previously.

Now Bush’s Ascendant, or rising degree, is 7 degrees of Leo. Leo is also ruled by the Sun, both as domicile ruler and triplicity ruler. (There is no exaltation ruler of Leo.) In traditional astrology, when two points (the Ascendant and the M.C. in this case) are ruled by the same planet, those two points are strongly connected. In this manner, Bush’s way of showing himself to the world (Ascendant) and his career drives and drive for social significance (M.C.) are both ruled by the Sun, and thereby connected. And to cap things off, the three fire signs, Aries, Leo and Sagittarius, are traditionally called royal signs. This was meant quite literally. I think that the picture is becoming clear.

Back to the Reception

Now let’s look at the Moon-Jupiter combination. It is in the Third House, which has to do with communications. The Moon rules the public, and Jupiter is usually a positive and easy energy. Generally, people with Moon-Jupiter combinations are well-liked, and have little difficulty in understanding other people’s moods. This is the formation that receives the Sun in the Twelfth House, since Bush’s Sun is in Cancer, the sign that is ruled by the Moon. Now I would still contend with this Twelfth House Sun that we really do not know George W. Bush, but the way the Sun is combined with the Moon and Jupiter largely overcomes that insofar as it might be a problem. We may not know who he his, but enough people do not have a problem with that so he has become president.

When we add Mercury and Pluto together in this First House and nearby to Venus, we can see someone with a strong drive to power, the ability to communicate and the ability to charm. I do believe that his Twelfth House Sun will eventually create difficulties in such a public role, but I do see how he has gotten there.

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About Robert Hand

Robert Hand is one of the world's most famous and renowned astrologers. He takes a special interest in the philosophical dimensions of astrology and is quite dedicated to computer programming. Currently he is fully engaged for Arhat Media as an editor, translator and publisher of ancient astrological writings. Rob Hand lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

Rob is an honor graduate from Brandeis University, with honors in history, and went on for graduate work in the History of Science at Princeton. Rob began an astrology practice in 1972 and as success came, he began traveling world wide as a full time professional astrologer. In 2013, he was designated as a doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) by The Catholic University of America.

Current Planets
20-Nov-2017, 12:05 UT/GMT
Sun2821'31"19s47
Moon2032' 7"18s52
Mercury1952'46"25s37
Venus1619'37"15s41
Mars187'45"6s06
Jupiter852'26"13s30
Saturn2635'32"22s26
Uranus2519' 4"r9n14
Neptune1128' 1"r8s07
Pluto1731'39"21s46
TrueNode1823'29"r15n19
Chiron2425'10"r1n17
Explanations of the symbols
Chart of the moment
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