About a month ago, on October 8th, I attended a lecture by evolutionary astrologer Christiane Meunier at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Chestnut Hill. It was an unusually church-filled Sunday for me; my boyfriend and I had just attended our first service at the Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting (it was lovely) where it was shared that Meunier would be reading the birth chart of the United States that same day at 2pm. My personal reservations about my ideas of astrology aside, that was a tough one to turn down. The reading, hosted by the Center for Contemporary Mysticism, was fascinating. Meunier is a practitioner of evolutionary astrology: a form that emphasizes free will and is not predictive in the same way one’s astrology reading in a magazine might be. Rather, evolutionary astrology looks at the soul’s journey and the influences on it as a map that provides the path but not the destination. As she stated multiple times throughout the demonstration, “This is what we get, how we deal with it is up to us.”
She read America’s chart as if it were a person born on July 4th, 1776 at 5:10pm, which is when Ben Franklin purportedly noted in correspondence as the moment the declaration was signed. (The country’s, or the land’s, long history before this moment can be considered America’s past life.) I’ll do my best to transcribe my notes here, knowing I likely won’t do her lecture justice and hoping I don’t mix anything up:
Astrologically speaking, the sun is the core personality (that we must feed to feel alive and excited), the planets are the voices in your head, and the signs are different qualities the core and those voices may take on. Each sign has light and shadow aspects to it. If you think about an astrological chart as the wheel, having 12 different houses and 12 different signs that could be in any house, the way to move out of the shadow side of a sign is not to try and move into its light aspects, but to move into the opposite house (and into whatever sign is there).
America’s sun sign is Cancer in the 7th house (the house of unions). Cancer is the “great lover”, which Meunier likened to the US’ romanticized American Dream, and the pursuit of happiness. Cancers, she said, like to talk about their feelings and need a safe space to do so. The main trait of its light side is generosity; they can be very giving when they feel safe and understood. The shadow side is self-pity and self-victimizing.
Opposite of the 7th house in America’s chart is the 1st house (the house of self-identity), where Saturn and Capricorn are. The light side of Capricorn is lawfulness, and Meunier said this was exemplified in our Constitution. The laws allow us to feel safe and are the “crab’s shell” (the crab being the sign for Cancer); when we feel safe, we can expose our soft side (our desire to share feelings). The shadow side of Capricorn is judging, or being arrogant with our laws.
The example Meunier gave to illustrate this was 9/11—we felt open and safe until we were attacked and plunged into the shadow side of Capricorn and became highly militaristic. Within the rules of evolutionary astrology (the bit about moving out of a shadow but going into its opposite, not its light) is demonstrated here: in order to move out of Capricorn’s shadow (stop imposing our laws on outsiders and feeling attacked), we shouldn’t move into Capricorn’s light (falling back on our laws)- we need to move into the opposite house’s Cancer light (openly expressing how we feel).
America’s moon is in Aquarius in the 3rd house (house of communication). The moon represents self-esteem, astrologically, and Aquarius is the innovator, exploring new territory.
Our ascendant sign is the sign at the horizon at time of birth. It represents the filter, the way you see the world and how the world sees you. Ours is Sagittarius in the 9th house (ethics, beliefs). The light side of Sagittarius is philosophical, curious, and forward-thinking. The shadow side is overly optimistic with bad judgement.
Meunier mentioned that the outer ring of planets stay put for a while on astrological charts since they take such a long time to make an orbit, so they tend to affect large groups of people at a time (and it can be hard to pinpoint what the affect is from the inside).
She talked about Mercury but all I wrote down for whatever reason is that the planet is representative of spiritual messages or “God”, so hopefully it bodes well for us wherever it is!
Uranus is the planet of individuality, what makes us unique. Interestingly, Meunier noted that Uranus was not discovered until around 1780; around the time when our culture was potentially shifting from thinking of people as members of a community to individuals cohabitating.
Neptune is the planet of spirituality and mysticism (Meunier explained that Neptune was discovered mathematically before it could be seen from Earth, which I thought was fascinating. It was proven true before it could be observed physically!). The sign of Pisces has a similar spiritual energy and was last in the same house as Neptune in 2012- it will be there again in 2026. When these two coincide, it can bring us to a different level of awareness.
Finally, we reached Pluto. Pluto represents the unconscious, the shadow side of ourselves that we do not necessarily want to see or are aware of. Pluto was discovered around 1930, the same time that psychology was beginning to discuss the unconscious. When Pluto hits the ascendant (the horizontal line across a birth chart representing the horizon), it throws the sun sign into shadow. Meunier said that Pluto hit the ascendant for America on 9/11, triggering Cancer’s shadow side and throwing us into Capricorn traits. Being in the first house, where it will remain for some time, it brings up the shadow side of the very essence of who we are. Are we really who we think we are? The darker elements that we don’t want to admit are coming into the light, whether we want them to or not, and it’s up to us to decide what we do with the information.
Disclaimer: I should note that the views and thoughts expressed here regarding the lecture are Christiane Meunier’s and not necessarily my own.