4th July 1776 5.10pm? Philadelphia, PA (Inferred from Sibly's stated time of 10H 10m P.M.)
1776 or alternative years: 1783, 1784 or 1789?
This Horoscope (displayed 4th July 1776 5.10pm) for the USA was first proposed by Ebenezer Sibly. It is controversial as there are many proposed times, contending dates and even years for the founding of the United States of America.
Discussion with a historian on the date question that resulted from this article.
- 2nd July 1776. Congress passed the resolution declaring independence from Great Britain, Philadelphia, PA.
- 4th July 1776. Declaration of Independence drawn up, agreed and (acc. some historians) signed by some or all parties. Philadelphia, PA
- 2nd August 1776. Declaration of Independence signed by 56 delegates to Congress.
- 3rd September 1783. Treaty of Paris signed. Formal ending of the Revolutionary War.
- 14th January 1784. American Congress of the Confederation ratifies Treaty of Paris. Annapolis.
- 9th April 1784. King George III ratifies Treaty of Paris.
- 30th April 1789. First President Washington took the oath of office. New York, NY.
Virgo Rising Theory: Morning
Reading different accounts of the events of 4th July, it appears that the Declaration was agreed and engrossed (carefully written) at some stage during the working day. Then 200 copies (broadsides) were printed by John Dunlap who worked through the night. Ron Howland's research into the minutes of Congress, show that after daily prayers, the Declaration was the second order of business. After much research and evidence, Ron opts for an 11am signing resulting in Virgo rising.
Howland's theory leaves many questions about the signing: Is it possible to rule out further debate during the day? Did John Hancock, as President of the Continental Congress sign Jefferson's 'Fair Copy' before it went to the printer or was an engrossed copy crafted on the day? (The original document was lost possibly in the printing process or destroyed as part of Congress' secrecy rule, but Hancock's name with Charles Thomson, as witness, appear on the printed 'Dunlap Broadside
If the agreement was signed on the day, surely Congress would have wanted the presence of the original author of the document to be present at the ratification? (Jefferson was out buying gloves in the morning) How long did engrossment take? Why don't records show that the printer started in the afternoon instead of working through the night?
|View the original transcript of the Journal of Congress to consider the reliability of the evidence first hand. |
Libra Rising Theory: Around Midday
The impressive ongoing research by Philadelphian astrologer, Frank Piechoski helps to answer these questions:
"Robert - I examined Charles Thomson's hand-written notes for the 2nd Continental Congress on microfiche at the Philadelphia branch of the National Archives. His notes show that the adoption of the DoI took place fairly early in the order of business that day, with much business taking place after the adoption of the DoI." ... "If I recall correctly, the adoption of the DoI took place about a third of the way through the text for that day, 4 July 1776." Source: An open forum. 23 Jan.2013 [Note: Charles Thomson was Secretary of the Continental Congress at the time and the individual most likely to record proceedings.]
If 1/3 of the text equates to 1/3 of the day, the proposition of a Libra Rising chart (11:08-13:37) arises. Frank favours around noon, which is supported by:
1. Noon is a classic launch time with the Sun at the MC. It favours the possibility of a symbolic chart by elected at the last minute by the more masonic oriented delegates.
2. An average time of Sibly's calculation for the position of the Sun, Moon and Venus position (Mercury was days out) comes to 5 pm London time with coincides with noon in Philadelphia.
"Philadelphia Bells rang in the middle of the day"
One argument in favour of a US horoscope in the morning of July 4, 1776 was that the 'bells in Philadelphia rang out in the middle of the day'.
"The process of revision continued through all of July 3 and into the late morning of July 4. Then, at last, church bells rang out over Philadelphia; the Declaration had been officially adopted."
~ National Archives
This may refer to the Liberty Bell which was at the time in the steeple of the Pennsylvania State House (now renamed Independence Hall) where the Declaration was signed. The following report (ushistory.org
) suggests that this story is apocryphal:
"In 1847, George Lippard wrote a fictional story for The Saturday Currier which told of an elderly bellman waiting in the State House steeple for the word that Congress had declared Independence. The story continues that privately he began to doubt Congress's resolve. Suddenly the bellman's grandson, who was eavesdropping on the doors of Congress, yelled to him, "Ring, Grandfather! Ring!"
This story so captured the imagination of people throughout the land that the Liberty Bell was forever associated with the Declaration of Independence.
The truth is that the steeple was in bad condition and historians today highly doubt that the Bell actually rang in 1776. However, its association with the Declaration of Independence was fixed in the collective mythology." from the Independence Hall Association [source]
Gemini Rising Theory: Early Hours
Up until 911
, the most popular chart for the USA was for 02:13am, attributed to Evangeline Adams in 1920s. The horoscope results in 7° Gemini Rising. Since it places Uranus exactly on the Ascendant, it is fitting that it reflects the rebellious spirit among the 13 colonies seeking to break-away from their 'mother country' or 'tyrannical kingdom'. While some astrologers see this as apt symbolism, others consider it opportune rectification which does not reflect the nature of the United States.
This Gemini Rising horoscope has been used by Jim Lewis
in his Astro*Carto*Graphy
book of Maps as well as other eminent astrologers. Nick Campion in his Book of World Horoscopes points out that records suggest that delegates were asleep around 2am in the early morning.
Was this an Elected Time?
To counter this, there is an argument that the odd timing of a signature in the early hours was deliberately chosen - that Benjamin Franklin who was an astrologer and the many other masonic founding fathers such as Washington and Jefferson were following an elected time.
"Astrology is one of the most ancient Sciences, held in high esteem of old, by the Wise and the Great. Formerly, no Prince would make War or Peace, nor any General fight in Battle, in short, no important affair was undertaken without first consulting an Astrologer.
~ Benjamin Franklin (Fay 1929)
However, as various astrologers have pointed out no self-respecting astrologer would elect a horoscope for such an important event at a time which made Mercury the ruling planet (as Mercury is the ruler of Gemini) when the planet was also retrograde. (Spencer 2000) But there may have been some astrological prognostication with the date. Author, Lina Accurso speculates:
"Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson (another all-around philosophical and scientific genius) conspired to have the Decleration of Independence adopted on July 4, 1776, rather than on July 2, the date urged by in a hurry John Adams. July 2, the Moon was in one of its weakest signs, Capricorn, where it would oppose the Cancer Sun, Mercury, Venus and Jupiter. By July 4, the full Moon was safely into Aquarius and well out of opposition to the Sun."
Clock on Independence Hall shows 2.22
Supporters of an early hours (Gemini Rising) or an early afternoon (Scorpio Rising) launch, point out to the time on the clock tower of Independence Hall where the Declaration was signed as depicted on the US $100 note. The hands of the clock are hard to discern but point to 2:21 or (as claimed in the albeit fictional movie National Treasure
(2004) with Nicholas Cage) 2:22. This time could, of course, be am or pm or perhaps the clock shows 4:10.
4th July 1776 embedded in people's consciousness
Now, since '4th July 1776' has been established and celebrated almost universally by Americans and around the world as the official Independence Day, most astrologers agree that a chart for this day is going to resonate most strongly with the nation. This still leaves the question "What time was the document signed or did it become official?" Now here there is much disagreement. It is even debated which delegates, if any, signed on July 4th.
Sag Rising (Sibly) Theory: late afternoon
What evidence supports Sagittarius Rising - also referred to as the Sibly Horoscope?
English astrologer, physician and herbalist, Ebenezer Sibly (1751-1799) (incorrectly spelt Sibley by Dane Rudhyar) was alive at the time of the signing and could have had access to witnesses and records that are not available today. As a freemason, Sibly may have had connections with fellow masons and signatories: Hancock, Washington and Franklin. Though 17:10 appears to be the most likely time by converting 22:10 GMT into Philadelphia, Sibly made errors in his calculations prompting speculation about a range of times mostly between 16:50 and 17:38 resulting between 1° and 18° Sagittarius rising. Click to find out what was deduced from Sibly's errors. Support comes from John B Early, an American astrologer who wrote his 1776 ephemeris or almanack in the margin for July, "Declaration signed 10.10pm" which can be (loosely as there was no time zone) converted to 5.10pm LMT in Philadelphia.
- Thomas Jefferson as an old man said the document was signed on the evening of 4th. Zella Lomax quotes Jefferson's records:
"Debates having taken up the greater parts of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th days of July, were in the evening of the last day, closed. The Declaration was reported by the committee agreed to by the House and signed by every member present, except Mr. Dickinson."
- Signatory and representative in the Continental Congress for Massachusetts, Elbridge Gerry wrote on 5 July that the Declaration was agreed after a 'day's debate'.
"...a determined resolution of the Delegates from some of the Colonies to push the question of Independency has had a most happy effect, and, after a day's debate
, all the Colonies, excepting New York, whose Delegates are not empowered to give either an affirmative or negative voice, united in a declaration long sought for, solicited, and necessary — the Declaration of Independency." ~
- On July 4 1778, the anniversary celebrations began at 5pm and followed in subsequent years. The historian Channing considered that this was early.
- Manly Hall claims that the writings of Jefferson, John Adams and Hancock all agreed on supporting a time 'late in the day'.
- The Sibly Horoscope responds to key events. The most convincing evidence for me was that transiting Pluto (within half a degree) was on the USA ascendant (opposite Saturn in Gemini) at the time of the 911 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington DC on September 11th 2001. For many who doubted Sibly's chart, this highly significant moment in US history with the most significant transit (dependent on the time) proved to be much more convincing than the alternative US horoscopes. Pluto transiting the Ascendant can result in a personal crisis that threatens the very existence of the body in question.
- The Sagittarian Ascendant fits a popular image of America as the cowboy, the adventurer, the great outdoors and an approach that is often seen by others to be larger than life. To a visitor, everything in America appears huge on first impressions: the distances, the Malls, the cars and the extravagant portions in restaurants. (Greene 1983) Sagittarius is the only zodiacal sign with a weapon. The deep beleif held by some in the US that it is their constitutional right to own a gun and the passionate resistence to gun control may be comparable to demanding that the Sagittarian centaur hands over his bow and arrow.
The problem with the Sibly/Sag Rising chart is that the astrological sources (Sibly, Early and Hall) are unreliable either because they are muddled or not verifiable. Jefferson's account is moderately reliable but other details are inconsistent with the evidence of the events which suggest that there was no widespread signing - perhaps his recollections faded in his later years. Channing's historical evidence is supportive, but Elbrige Gerry's written account written the next day remains the most reliable of all sources.
- Fay, Bernard (1929) "Franklin, Benjamin, The Apostle of Modern Times" Little, Brown, & Co.[see] Originally in the 1751 preface to the Poor Richard’s Almanack written by Franklin under the pen name, Richard Saunders.
First published late in 1732, Poor Richard's Almanack is probably Franklin's best-known publication. Richard Saunders' humorous sayings and advice filled the pages of the almanacik's twenty-six editions. [see Chris Brennan's blog for more background info]
- Hazelton, John Hampden (1906) Declaration Of Independence. Its History, pp.299–302; Burnett, Continental Congress, 192. de Capo Press, NY (see)
- Baigent, Michael (1983) Ebenezer Sibley and the Signing of the Declaration of Independence. Astrological Journal. Vol.XXVI #1. Winter 1983-4.
- Timson, D. (1964-5) Ebenezer Sibly, Freemason Extraordinary. Transcriptions of Lodge Research, #2249, p.62f Leicester.
- Ward, Eric (1958) Ebenezer Sibly - a Man of Parts. Transactions of the Quattuor Coronati Lodge- Vol.71, #2076, p.481, London.
- Early, John B Though the tale of Early's note circulates the web, I cannot find a reliable source to corroborate it. One source claims it was written in a contempary edition of Raphael's Ephemeris. However, Foulsham the publisher proudly claim that Raphael's has been published since 1819 - 43 years after the Declaration of Independence!
- Ford, Paul Leicester (1893) The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Vol.1 p.28 New York.
Lomax, Zella Gilbert (1931) Horoscope of the United States. Astrology Bulletina July-Sep 1931. Author copyright via Library of Congress. Copyright Office [see] Encylopedia Britannica Source: The Writings of Thomas Jefferson: Being his Autobiography, Correspondence, Reports, Messages, Addresses, and Other Writings, Official and Private, vol. 8, H.A. Washington, ed., 1871, pp. 12-26.
- Gerry, Elbridge Letter to General Warren dated 5th July 1776 quoted in Journals of the Continental Congress 1774-1789 Vol.V. p.516 note 1. From Ford (1893) see above. p.18 and Lincoln Library, University of Illinois.
- Channing, Edward (1977) A History of the United States. 6 vols. New York.
- Hall, Manley Palmer (1941) Our National Horoscope in Grant & Kraum, Astrological Americana, p.83 (Tempe, AZ 1949). Hall claimed that the writings of Jefferson, Adams and Hancock, ... all agreed on supporting a time of 'late in the day' which he placed between 4.30 and 6.00 pm. Hall also claimed that the Philadelphia Historical Association stated that the Declaration was signed at approximately 5.00 pm or slightly later, but gives no source for this infromation. [via Campion BOWH p.297 (1988)] So this evidence is not verifiable.
- Boyd, Julian P. (1976) "The Declaration of Independence: The Mystery of the Lost Original". Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 100 (4): p.450
- National Archives Declaration of Independence. A History. The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. archives.gov Retrieved: January 2013.
Unfortunately, no specific source is given for this information though the following titles listed under the article appear to be the most likely candidates:
Ferris, Robert G., ed. (1973) Signers of the Declaration: Historic Places Commemorating the Signing of the Declaration of Independence. Washington, DC: National Park Service.
Goff, Frederick, R. (1976) The John Dunlap Broadside: The First Printing of the Declaration of Independence. Washington, DC: Library of Congress. Of the 200 Dunlap Broadsides printed, 26 are known to extant.
- Campion, Nick (1988) "Book of World Horoscopes", 1st published 1988. pp.293-305 ISBN 0-85030-527-6
- Greene, Liz "The Outer Planets & Their Cycles: The Astrology of the Collective", CRCS Publications (1983) p.112-114
- Rudhyar, Dane "The Riddle of the USA horoscope" July 1971 [see]
- Rudhyar, Dane "The Astrology of America's Destiny" (1974). Rudhyar places the US Asc as 13°10' Sag using a rectified time of 5:13:55 pm LMT Philadelphia. The Sabian Symbol image of 14th degree of Sag is "the Pyramids and the Sphinx." Sabian Symbols as an Oracle, Lynda and Richard Hill (1995) p.103
- AstroDataBank, USA No1 [see]
- Spencer, Neil (2000) "True as the Stars Above", Victor Gollancz ISBN 0752843826
- Dell Horoscope (1998) "Ben Franklin: America's Astrologer-General" by Lina Accurso July 1998, p.35-37
Note: There are many records and beliefs that support a US Horoscope for just about every rising sign. I would reccommend that any astrologer, wishing to use a USA chart, explore the many theories with an open mind but always give more weight to historical evidence over rectified claims.
Franklin's quote in full: "Courteous Reader, Astrology is one of the most ancient Sciences, had in high Esteem of old, by the Wise and Great. Formerly, no Prince would make War or Peace, nor any General fight a Battle, in short, no important Affair was taken without first consulting an Astrologer, who examined the Aspects and Configurations of the heavenly bodies, and mark’d the lucky hour. Now the noble Art (more Shame to the Age we live in!) is dwindled into contempt; the Great neglect us, Empires make Leagues, and Parliaments Laws, without advising with us; and scarce any other Use is made of our learned Labors, than to find the best time cutting Corns, or gelding Pigs, – this Mischief we owe in a great Measure to ourselves: The ignorant Herd of Mankind: had they not been encourag’d to it by some of us, would never have dared to deprecate our sacred Dictates; but Urania has been betray’d by her own Sons: those whom she had favored with the greatest skill in her divine art, the most eminent astronomers among the Moderns, the Newtons, Helleys, and Whistons have wantonly condem’d and abus’d her, contrary to the Light of their own Consciouses."
Robert Currey, 4th July 2009