The Observer Observed part 2, page 2
Driven by my quest for beginnings, my eye was led along a line of temporal perspective receding into the past. I realised that I was looking at a sequence of horoscopes for events connected as part of a linear historical process. There is no objective fixed starting point to such an historical process. On the other hand, the two political States on the island mirror a fundamental division; in the south the people exist as citizens of a Republic, while in the north, the people are subjects under the British constitutional monarchy. As the people of the Republic had to fight politically and militarily to break free from the influence of the British Crown, my attention was drawn to identifying the birth within the Irish of collective [awareness] of active Republicanism. It was the germination or birth and growth of this movement which bore fruit in terms of the current States on the island. If I could find a suitable horoscope to symbolise this birth, I anticipated that subsequent events of political significance would coincide with transits and progressions to the chosen chart.
Looking for a horoscope for an aspirational concept
It's important to point out that what I was seeking was a horoscope for nothing more tangible than the emergence and evolution of an abstract and aspirational concept. This is somewhat different from the situation which holds for the animated flesh and bones of natal astrology. Instead of the cutting of an umbilical cord and the separation of one physical entity from another, a useful image I hold is of the appearance of a vortex in the flowing currents of a stream. This has conceptual implications. A vortex is never separated from the context it is born from - the flowing stream. It is what one might call a process-structure. To continue the analogy, if it rains and the stream starts flowing faster, the behaviour of the vortex changes. It speeds up. Other vortices appear in the stream which maintain virtually static positions relative to each other as the currents continue to flow. In using a model such as this, I, as the astrologer, am placing constraints on the form any astrological picture generated by my research would take. The same can be said of my choice to apply crucial astrological significance to the emergence of republicanism in relation to the future story of the Irish nation up to the present day. I could have chosen the invasion of Ireland by the Normans in 1169, or several other key historical events.
The roots of Irish Republicanism
Checking out the story of Irish republicanism in historical records, I was drawn back to a meeting which was held on October 14th 1791 in Belfast. On this day, the Society of United Irishmen came into being. A group of merchant class Irishmen voted on certain resolutions drawn up by one Theobald Wolfe Tone, who is commonly referred to as the founding father of Irish Republicanism. Originally, this society was set up to promote radical parliamentary reform and the reduction of English influence on Irish affairs, but it rapidly became a secret society dedicated to establishing a Republican government and complete separation from England, by the use of force if necessary. In Tone's diaries, he wrote of that foundational meeting: "We formed our club, of which I wrote the declaration, and certainly the formation of that club commenced a new epoch in the politics of Ireland."
Of course, the Irish republican movement was hugely influenced by events raging elsewhere in the world during that period, particularly in France although past developments in America offered hope too. The French Revolution which started in 1789 gave rise to its first Republic in 1792. What is quite striking is that unlike the upheavals in the aforementioned countries, the quest for a united Irish republic is still ongoing. All the political structures on this island which have come and gone, or which still exist, are emergent properties of a process which effectively started in 1791. The vortex is still spinning.
The lunar eclipse on October 12th 1791
In looking at the astrology surrounding October 14th 1791, I noticed that there had been a lunar eclipse two days previously. I didn't really know much about eclipses, but had recently bought Neil Michelson's Tables of Planetary Phenomena, which contained eclipse data for the period I was interested in. The horoscope for the lunar eclipse at 1:30am GMT October 12th 1791 is an amazing looking chart. I set it for Dublin (53N21, 6W18), it being the capital city at the time. The chart really grabbed my intuitive attention to the point where I was quite mesmerised by it. I found myself laying aside the data for October 14th, when the Irish republican movement was actually initiated, and started experimenting with this jewel I felt I had been presented with. Here again, it is the astrologer and not the conventional logic of astrology which was driving the modelling. That eclipse chart was speaking to me and commanding my attention.
Horoscope for the lunar eclipse on October 12th 1791, 1:30am GMT (1:05am LMT), Dublin 53N21 6W15
Naturally, the horoscopes for the two dates have a lot in common, and both of them shout out a loud radicality in relation to the themes they were being mapped onto. In other words, their symbolisms reflected the themes of independence, separatism, militant revolution, nationalism and republicanism rooted in the liberal ideologies of the time. But the eclipse horoscope shouts loudest. The most obvious signatures in this regard are Mars conjunct Uranus, both in opposition to Pluto across the Leo-Aquarius ascendant axis; a stellium in Libra including the Sun, Jupiter and the lunar N.Node opposed by a Saturn Moon conjunction in Aries. These are all configured into a tight rectangular formation.
One feature caught my eye. The Mars-Uranus-Pluto pattern across the Leo-Aquarius Ascendant axis was contained between 18-20 degrees, the Ascendant itself being at 23-24 Leo. I had previously noted that in the 1916 Proclamation of Independence chart, the Ascendant was at 20 Leo, with Uranus opposite at 19 Aquarius.
The failed 1916 Easter Rising was a key turning point in the quest for Irish independence and the creation of a Republic. I had speculated that the horoscopes for either the lunar eclipse in October 1791, or for the meeting which happened on October 14th (no time) might work as a root chart for Irish Republican nationalism. Here I was looking at a Uranus transit which was aligned with a Mars-Uranus-Pluto pattern across Leo-Aquarius in either of these charts, coinciding with a military uprising which led eventually to the transformation of subjects into citizens. It is an understatement to say that this conforms with astrological traditions.
Choosing to use the lunar eclipse chart
This encouraged me to look at earlier and subsequent crucial events in the Irish Republican story. I used the eclipse horoscope as a root chart for this purpose, as it could be accurately timed, a psychological comfort for me in those days. The results surprised me, as I found the angles and the ASC/MC midpoint for the lunar eclipse horoscope triggered on several key occasions, as well as the eclipse axis itself.
Note that any conjunction to symbols involved in the tight rectangular pattern (positions given below) necessarily aspect all the other symbols in that pattern, whether by conjunction, opposition, sextile or trine. Any square aspect by transit will also coincide with semisextile, quincunx or opposition transits to the rest of the configuration. To save space (while sacrificing a degree of clarity), I will call the whole rectangular configuration the 'eclipse complex,' and use this term when any of its component symbols are triggered by transit or progression. The actual degree positions of the eclipse complex components are as follows:
Sun:18Li40 Moon:18Ar40 Mars:19Le09 Uranus:18Le09 Pluto:19Aq54This means that any planet or point between 18 - 20 degrees in the Cardinal or Fixed signs by transit or progression will impact on the whole pattern.