|The Manifesto|||||The Dominion|||||Texts and Articles|||||Review|||||Links|||||ACCUEIL (FR)|||||HOME (EN)|
|The Riddle of the Sibly Chart for American Independence
(Masonic Astrology and the Fixed Square of the Zodiac)
by Edward Kohout
For many years astrologers have vigorously debated the proper timing of the signing of the US Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 4, 1776. Although there is no way of confirming any exact time, there appear to be as many times and insisted proofs for this chart's accuracy as there are competent historical astrologers. This chart's connection to Freemasonry is often overlooked, as is the astronomy and star lore that had evolved from the Middle Ages through Isaac Newton. However, any understanding of the enigmatic Sibly chart for American Independence depends upon our understanding of how the Masons utilized astrology in the 18th Century.
The Profusion of Independence Day Charts
The Declaration of Independence (herein called "D of I") chart most widely used boasts the unreasonable time of 2:17 AM, LMT. It is unlikely that the Continental Congress was in session at that hour of the morning, and there is no documentation to prove this. Nonetheless, countless astrologers have depended on this chart for over one hundred years. It is more likely that astrologers placed the planet Uranus on the "D of I" chart's destiny-determining ascending degree of 8° Gemini for reasons other than possession of a verifiable "time."
Placing a particular planet on the ascendant of a "revolutionary" chart was surely a mundane technique to aid in interpretation. For instance, casting a solar chart for a nativity with an unknown time, or Mars on the ascendant for the first day of a conflict, and so on. Uranus, named "Herschel" when it was discovered in 1783, had been an astrological enigma for some decades, and the astrologers of the late 18th Century were unsure of its interpretation. Its discovery during the Revolutionary period in the West lent to boundary-busting annotations. But the hour required to establish a Gemini ascendant for the "D of I" would make this chart historically inaccurate, operating only on a symbolic level. By today's astrological standards, the Gemini ascendant is unreliable.
Many astrologers in the 20th Century had understood these dismissals and offered charts of their own in hopes of pinning down this magical moment, perhaps to somehow weld the mythology of the era with the reality of history. What follows is a brief survey of the proposed "D of I" times I have found in my studies, but by no means should this be considered an exhaustive list:
Astrologer(s) Time Ascending Degree Traditional/Wynne  2:17 AM LMT 8º Gemini Clement Hey/Gar Osten  3:01 AM LMT 20º Gemini Lewis Howard  12:14:42 PM LMT 13º32' Libra John Hazelrigg  12:20 PM LMT 14º42' Libra Gallard Hunt  2:00 PM LMT 4º30' Scorpio Marc Penfield  2:20 PM LMT 8º15' Scorpio Vivian Robson  4:50 PM LMT 8º11' Sagittarius Dane Rudhyar  5:14 PM LMT 13º10' Sagittarius John B. Earley  10:04 PM LMT 4º09' Pisces
Of these, the Robson and Rudhyar charts have become somewhat popular in recent years, mainly due to their connection to the Ebenezer Sibly's chart first published in 1780. Sibly included this strange but fascinating "chart" as an engraving in his book, The Celestial Science of Astrology. It simply states, "4th July, 10H 10M P.M., 1776," with no place specified, perhaps assuming we will default to Philadelphia (See Figures 1 and 1-a).
Figure 1 Sibly's symbolic chart for "American Independence,"
magnified and contrast adjusted to show the planetary positions.
Figure 1-a The entire Sibly engraving.
Sibly, a Freemason, describes himself as an "astro-philosopher." His connection to the secret society of Freemasons is the key to helping us understand the meaning of this symbolic and philosophical chart. It is clear to anyone that tries to reproduce this chart that it never was meant to represent the "moment" that a normal astrological radix is supposed to show, e.e., there never was a planetary formation athat occurred at the angles (location) specified on that or any date. The chart simply never existed in reality. Somewhat interesting is the conspicuous absence of the planet "Herschel" in this chart. It was never a consideration of Sibly, and surely it was not a consideration of the Masons in America in 1776 - seven years before Uranus' discovery. Astrologers never had the quandry of a "new planet" before this time in history, and it took decades for astrology to grasp the meaning of this phenomenon. The notion that the D of I chart had Uranus rising is nothing more than pure fantasy.
Other "reality" problems exist in Sibly's chart as well. The angles specified -- 19º49' Aquarius rising and 13º12' Sagittarius culminating -- cannot possibly occur over the locale of Philadelphia. Sibly specifies no place at all; we assume it must be Philadelphia, but the angles he cites cannot physically occur at Philadelphia's latitude. These angles do occur daily over London, but the planetary formation, and mainly Luna's geocentric position within this chart, could not have happened over London as those zodiacal values passed the local azimuthal grid.
That the angles are unique to London's latitude was not lost on Rudhyar, who chose to relocate the chart to Philadelphia and arrived at a time of "5:14 PM" with an LAT to GMT conversion. On that date, the sun reached the MC four minutes later than the GMT noontime would have. Rudhyar then justified this choice of ascendant and midheaven via the Sabian Symbols. 
Robson's time, also Sibly-based but a full 24 minutes and 5º of zodiacal arc in difference to Rudhyar's, was a Sibly chart rectification that was cited in a special 1948 AFA bulletin called Astrological Americana, "... I have been looking into the [Sibly] horoscope there suggested and have very little doubt that it is the correct one. A rectification by events brings out a local time of 4:49:49 as the exact moment for which the map should be erected, so that we are justified in choosing 4:50 PM." 
This rectification, however, flies in the face of history itself according to Marc Penfield, who points out a recorded fact that John Hancock affixed his proud signature on the document some time after 2 PM LMT on that day, after the final draft of the D of I came "out of committee." For this he cites Hancock's own diary.  Many other historical sources agree with the "afternoon" timing, although none are as precise as Hancock's own pen, which is still somewhat vague.
To this day we still have the problem of affixing the proper angles to this most important chart. Without proper angles, much delineation and prognostication may be for naught, or limited at best. Rectification, as a rule, should be employed when all other attempts to garner historical proof have failed us.
The AFA cites the important passages from Sibly, describing what he is trying to impart from this uniquely symbolic chart:
"I shall in this place call attention of my reader to that remarkable era in the British history, which gave independence to America, and reared up a now empire, that shall soon or late give laws to the whole world. The revolution carries with it something so remarkable, and the event is so important in the country, that I shall make no apology for introducing the scheme of the heavens for the spring and summer quarters of the year 1776, when this revolution happened, and for examining and explaining the same, according to the rules I have so amply laid down for that purpose.
¶ In the vernal equinox [Figures 1-b and 1-c], we find Jupiter is lord of the ascendant, and in his detriment. Mars we find in Aries, which is the ascendant of England, strong and powerful in his own house, but under the earth. The Moon, who represents the common people, we find under affliction, being combust the Sun; and Mars, being combust also, foreshows that poor England, through her internal strength is great and permanent, yet she will this year be accidentally afflicted and depressed; more especially as we find Mars going to an opposition of Saturn, and Saturn uncommonly strong in the midheaven, in his exaltation, and beheld by the two fortunes Jupiter and Venus; and consequently superior to Mars in power and dignity, who is under the earth and combust the Sun, though located in his own house; which in this case serves however to show the permanency and stability of Great Britain during the whole of this trying conflict.
¶ In this figure the planet Saturn is the significator of America, and Mars represents the people of Britain; as may very easily be seen by taking down the dignities of Saturn and Mars, according to the Table on page 120 of this work. That Saturn hath the superiority of power, and that Mars and Saturn are inimical in their nature to each other, are facets too evident to be denied; and as the aspect which is about to be formed between them is a malevolent one, namely, a partile opposition, it declares the event shall be such as to cause a total and eternal separation of the two countries from each other; and that the congress, which is represented by Saturn in his exaltation, supported by the benefic rays of the two fortunes. And since there is a remarkable reception between the two planets, Saturn and Venus, i.e., Venus in the house of Saturn, and Saturn in the house of Venus; supported by a propitious trine aspect of the three proceeding planets, occupy and possess the whole expanse of the heavens; it is hence declared, that whatever is effected under this revolution of the Sun's ingress into Aries by the Americans, shall not only be permanent and durable, but shall be supported by those three grand pillars of state - wisdom, strength, and unanimity; which are pointed out by those three planets, agreeable to their tendency and nature, viz. Saturn, strength and durability; Jupiter, wisdom and justice; and Venus, unanimity and perseverance; and their mutual trine aspect to each other, is expressive of future perfection and harmony; so that, if we attentively contemplate the above position of the heavenly bodies, we shall find no point strained, to show their natural tendency towards the good fortune and success of the Americans; and consequently the disappointment and prejudice of the British arms and administration.
¶ We shall now take notice of the time in which this extraordinary revolution should come to its crisis, or completely take place, as pointed out by the several significators in the figure. To do this, we must equate the distance of Mars from Saturn, they being the two principal actors in the revolution. Their distance is taken by right ascension, according to their latitude; because Mars, which is the significator of Great Britain, is within three degrees of the cusp of the fourth house.
The right ascension of Saturn is................18º52'
The right ascension of Mars is..................02º30'
Subtract, and the remainder is the
distance of Mars from Saturn....................16º22'
¶ Which arch of direction must be converted into time, by adding to it the right ascension of the Sun, as taught in the Doctrine of Nativities; by which rule we are to examine how many days the Sun takes in going that space in the ecliptic; and this being an annual revolution, with the two significators in common signs, which denote weeks, we must therefore allow for each day's motion of the Sun one week; by which it will appear that the crisis or effect of the opposition of Mars and Saturn came up in fifteen weeks and two days from the time the Sun came into the first scruple of the equinoctial sign Aries; at which time to a day the Americans declared themselves independent of the British government, and became a free state.
¶ At this time the heavenly intelligencers were posited as in the scroll presented by the hand of Fame in the annexed Plate [Figure 1]; and from whence the following conclusions naturally follow. So many significators being posited in the fifth house, in the watery and fruitful sign Cancer, the sign or house of the Moon, with the Moon in the ascendant; and Venus, Jupiter, Sol, and Mercury, all beholding the ascendant with a trine aspect; clearly evince that the state of America shall in time have an extensive and flourishing commerce; an advantageous and universal traffic to every quarter of the globe, with great fecundity and prosperity amongst the people. At this period we are in some measure unable to speak experimentally of the truth of this prescience; though the stars point out those particulars, with all other important incidents relative to the rise and progress of the United States, with as much certainty and precision as by the Moon we calculate the ebbing and flowing of the sea, the times and periods of eclipses, the courses and effects of comets, or any other extraordinary phaonomena, wherein nature, and the ordinations of God, the great and primary cause of all things, are at the bottom.
¶ The better to satisfy the curious in those mundane revolutions, and to enable them to draw conclusions with greater exactness, I have subjoined the figure of the Sun's ingress into the tropical sign Cancer [Figures 1-d and 1-e], which took place near fourteen days before the American declared their independence; and, what is very remarkable, Mars, who is the significator of Great Britain, is disposed of in the imum coeli by Mercury, the significator of the French king, who, when the Sun entered into Aries, the lord of the seventh house, the house of public enemies, of falsehood, and deceit. He likewise disposes of Jupiter, lord of the ascendant at that time, which had co-signification with Mars, in representing the people of England. From those remarkable positions and effects, we may fairly conclude, that the Americans had not only the French nation to assist them, but had many strong and powerful friends in Great Britain, who would support the cause and second the exertions of the French in establishing their independence.
¶ It is to be noted, that, in the proceeding figure of the Sun's entrance into Cancer, Mars is found in conjunction of Venus; and, although Venus is a fortune, and declares England should not be ruined by the strong influence of Mercury, their dispositor, yet she softens and takes off the warlike courage and intrepid impetuosity of Mars, and inclines him more to warlike courage and intrepid impetuosity of Mars, and inclines him more to amity and peace than to bloodshed and slaughter. Besides, we find the Sun, the implicative aspect of war and conquest, is in conjunction with Jupiter, who is the natural significator of peace and concord; so that the Sun's ingress in to Cancer declares that the counsels of his Britannic majesty should not prove effective, nor his arms victorious; but inclined only to push on a defensive war with the Americans, as the nature of their situation and the necessity of the times might require, though an unlimited thirst for conquest was predominant; which exactly corresponds with the situation of the heavenly ordinances at the time the Americans chose to declare their defection from the mother-country.
¶ At this time Jupiter and Venus were in conjunction, and appeared to meet as counsel with the Sun and Mercury in the celestial Crab, in that part of the heavens where she was posited at the time of the ingress. And disposed of by Saturn, the significator of America. Hence it will appear that if we read the history of the American war, and examine with attention the various transactions of those who were the principal actors in the business, and compare the result with what is denoted by the forgoing figures, according to the rules heretofore laid down to determine planetary influx, we shall find no difficulty in tracing every important even, with astonishing exactness and precision, that can in any shape relate to this department of the astral science."
[The foregoing is all quoted from pages 1051 to 1055, of the third edition of Sibly's work, published in 1785.] 
In a manner consistent with the astrology of his time -- in the tradition of Lilly -- Sibly incorporates the traditional mundane technique of charting solar ingresses into cardinal signs. Sibly is quite supportive and reverent towards the "new nation" and is also a bit hostile to the monarchies of his own country as well as to France, which is in accord with much of the Masonic political philosophy of that time. What he does not explain is how he arrives at the times, angles, and planetary positions of the July 4 chart! For this explanation, we have to dig deeper, asking some important questions about other techniques he may have been using. If indeed Sibly was privy to the secretive "moment" of the signing of the "D of I," why would he not use any cosmic reference to that time in his charts? If Sibly was ignorant to the "moment," what might have caused him to choose the specific time he used? I strongly feel that he is speaking to us through what he has chosen to withhold -- information that would be obvious to those with knowledge of the Masonic astrological techniques.
Masonry was a prevalent social club during the Revolutionary period. Ben Franklin and John Hancock were members of the fraternity, along with at least 7 others who signed the D of I. Masonry was an elite club in the larger port cities in that era, and membership to modern lodges was limited to the most prominent men in society. Sibly's Masonic ties and astrological prowess suggest that astrology was integral to Masonry's activies. If that same tradition was implanted in the colonies, it is a small leap to conclude that the signing of the "D of I" was timed astrologically, and timed to coincide with a special set of circumstances that were astronomically relevant -- and sacred to -- the universe of Speculative Freemasonry.
To understand this technique, we must see it against the astrological and astronomical backdrop that was traditional for Medieval Europe's operative Masonic clubs. These developments then have to be followed into the Newtonian enlightenment, to the political ramifications of the New World, and then through the explosion of Freemasonry in Western society in the second half of the 18th Century, -- a phenomenon which has only started to wane in popular strength and importance in the past 30 years.
Thoughts on Masonic Cosmology
The original Masonic tradition that is traceable to Scotland, Ireland, and England had its roots in the medieval obsession with cathedral building. Cathedrals were the most sacred of spaces, for obvious reasons. The Gothic cathedrals of Europe were wonders of craftsmanship, but expense or neglect left many of these incomplete. Cathedrals also acted as solar observatories from which the proper date of Easter could be determined. Easter was astronomically defined as the first Sunday after the first full moon of the vernal equinox. This fixed rule was established by the Council of Nicea, but was not put into widespread practice through most of Europe until the Carolingian Renaissance of the 8th and 9th Centuries. Only by correctly observing the soli-lunar phenomena could the drama of Christ be enacted universally across Christendom on the proper date. This astronomical tradition empowered the very soul of the Church in the sense that Christ could be "reborn" again yearly when the Sun and Moon were fully returned to the northern half of the heavens in the signs of Aries through Virgo.
Finding the exact date of the equinox was of prime ecumenical and political importance, but this was no simple feat in the Middle Ages. The Julian calendar under-measured the length of a solar year by about 11 minutes - an error that threw the calendar out of sync with the seasons one complete day every 125 years. In addition, without today's precise measurement tools, mathematicians were unable to measure "Delta T," or the gradual slowing of the Earth's rotation. Over the course of 15 centuries, the Sun's transit of the cardinal points-originally March 25, June 24, September 24 and December 25-was slowly slipping ahead of itself. The 11-minute discrepancy coupled with the challenge of astronomical calculations resulted in the calendar being about ten days out of sync with the tropical zodiac by the 16th Century.
By erecting the cathedral itself as a solar observatory, the resident priest could determine visually that the equinox was indeed occurring. For this reason, cathedral doors had to face east.  The craftsmen who built the cathedrals employed a rather simple technique that allowed the floor of a cathedral to be platted with the above in mind. Two pillars were placed in line with the north-south meridian. Next, the shadows cast by the rising sun (not exactly reliable in the oft-cloudy European realms) were measured and marked. By measuring the shadows of the Sun's most northern rising, what we now call the summer solstice, and the Sun's most southern rising, or winter solstice, the dimensions of the cathedral could be reckoned. The point where both of these shadows crossed was then marked on the floor, and from there a star could be inset into the marble flooring. 
The Julian calendar that was to become standard in Christendom marked the winter solstice, the symbolic birthday of Jesus, calendrically as December 25. Conversely, the summer solstice was celebrated as June 24, and was ascribed as the Feast of St. John, a holy day to John the Baptist, the first Saint and Christianity's second-most important individual. Cathedral platting emphasized the importance of this date to Masonry. The contemporary "Royal Arch Mason" is so named to celebrate the arc of the ecliptic that stretches from 0º Aries to 0º Libra, with the focal point of that arch being where the Sun is on St. John's Day, theoretically 0º Cancer.
As operative Freemasonry evolved in post-Medieval Europe, it attracted men of high distinction who were not laborers, but instead learned and noble, into its ranks. As the art of cathedral building matured, Masonry's infusion of non-craftsmen brought a new dimension to the craft-what is now referred to as "speculative" Masonry. The aims of speculative Masonry were to take the craft beyond practical concerns of construction, and into the realms of introspection and social cultivation. Masonry, truly a cult of the Sun, was the mystical link back to the Sun-centered religious traditions of certain realms in Pagan Europe that influenced the astronomies of Medieval Christendom. Within the ranks of the guild were held the secrets of the workings of God's creation, which simplistically can be seen as the cycles of time via the luminaries. 300 years ago, this knowledge was far beyond the reach of the vast majority of the populous, and the craft guild of Masonry being a natural repository for this wisdom was attractive to the social elites.
Speculative Freemasonry began in earnest, not surprisingly, on June 24th, 1717, at the Goose and Gridiron Tavern in London, when four local lodges joined to form the Grand Lodge of England (See Figure 2). Although England was a Christian nation, it was outside of the realm of the Holy Roman Catholic Church and did not officially adopt the Gregorian calendar in 1582. Because England waited to adopt the Gregorian calendar until 1752, the 1717 date is Old Style (OS), and is concurrent with July 5th of the Gregorian calendar. The noon chart for London on this date is remarkable and suggests that this date was elected astrologically, perhaps many years prior. The Grand Lodge itself consisted of four local lodges, perhaps symbolically representative of the cardinal points that are so prominent in Masonic symbolism and architecture.
Not only is Jupiter cazimi in this chart, but it is also directly behind the disc of the Sun in what is a rare solar eclipse of a planet. The disc of the Sun averages about 34 minutes of arc in diameter, and any planet that is within 17 minutes of the ecliptic while cazimi is technically in eclipse. Jupiter tends to stay relatively close to the ecliptic, more so than the other planets (except for Uranus). Astrological tradition states that planets in cazimi are strengthened, oddly, in contrast to planets that are consumed by the aura of the Sun - within 16 or 17 degrees of longitude.  Still, we can see the culminating eclipse in the following table:
June 24, 1717 (O.S.), London, 12:04 PM LMT MC ------- 13º10' Cancer Sol ------ 13º10' Cancer Jupiter -- 13º06' Cancer; Latitude +0º06' Saturn --- 13º08' Libra Luna ----- 28º04' Taurus Mercury -- 17º46' Cancer Venus ---- 17º18' Cancer Mars ----- 14º12' Sagittarius ASC ------ 10º05' Libra N Node --- 08º37' Libra
This rarity suggests that the chart was elected, and we do know that precise astronomical tables were available from the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, which had been in operation under the direction of Flamsteed since the late 1670s. With the technology and tools of the day, such an "eclipse" was easily predictable for an expert in astronomy, including any learned and elevated brother of the Masonic tradition. 
Saturn is rising in this chart, exactly square to the Sun/Jupiter eclipse. Saturn and Jupiter are both in their exaltations by sign, as is Luna, who is conjunct the Pleiades. Saturn and Mars are in sextile, and thus rendered mostly harmless via the old rules of election.
Uranian astrologers would find the 8th harmonic interesting:
SO = MO = JU = SA = MC = VE/ME//NN = MA/UR = NE/PL !!
This spectacular astrological setup is relevant to Masonic symbolism as well. The square and compass that have become the moniker of the craft finds its roots in the older traditions of European astrology. Not only were the square, representing an angle of 90º, and compass, spread at the angle of 60º, necessary tools for architectural craftsmen, they were also allusions to the nature of the earth and heavens, and the basic measurements of the whole of the cosmic works (See Figure 3).
These angles are represented in the 1717 chart as well, and Mars' angle to the eclipse is the sum of both angles, 150º (See Figure 3-a). Quoting a perennial Masonic work from 1946, "Without some knowledge of astrology it is impossible for any one to fully understand the symbology of ... Freemasonry, for it is replete with astrological references. The theory that the earth is flat and square and that the heavens are a great inverted dome is attributed to the ancients. The earth being material it was natural to adopt the square as the symbol of the earth, and eventually it came to be used as a symbol for all material things including material, of physical man. As triangulation is used in measuring spheres, a sequence of reasoning is that the "Heavens" are spherical; they are the abode of the gods; the gods are spiritual, hence a triangle symbolizes heaven, Deity and things spiritual, including spiritual man." 
The Carolingian Renaissance was largely responsible for the standardization of cosmological models across Europe, but it took over 500 years for Christian festivals to replace the Pagan traditions of earlier urban origin.  While the Byzantine and Arab astronomies evolved largely from Ptolemaic models, the Latin courts, after Charlemagne, pulled mainly from Pythagorean numerical models that were a mix of mythology, computistics and ritual timekeeping. Their astronomy was mainly observational, with less emphasis on precision geometry, and it was only later, after the Byzantine influence had reached the Latin academia, that the observational and calendrical models were reconciled with the mathematical disciplines. Even Copernican heliocentrism did not bring about the demise of epicycles, as they were an excellent method of calculation, provided one knew the "place" of the "spheres." The radius of all spheres was given as "60º," regardless of motion or size, and avoided the tedious and needless measure of lineal distance. Recognizing that one can arrange six radii in a hexagon circumscribed within a sphere, with the corners tangential to that sphere in intervals of 60°, this strange practice, coupled with the geometrical "squaring of the circle," is probably the origin of the symbolism associated with astrology. 
The word geometry literally means "earth measure," but what exactly were the world's mathematical limits in Aristotelian circles is unclear. What is know is that terrestrial measurements were tied closely to stellar measurements from at least the time of Ptolemy. Ultimately important to Masonry was how to design ceremonies for the initiation of every undertaking that would take moments of harmony between earth and celestial spheres into consideration; this required skill in geometrical calculation and computus, disciplines that have remained central to Masonry to the present day.
These mathematical and astronomical traditions were so important to the Western European nobility that they eventually considered their feudal heritage to be ordained and sanctioned by the movement of the stars. The astronomical tradition that had evolved from the Frankish court of Charlemagne up to the Enlightenment became the very rallying point against the Monarchies which were directly threatening the Feudal system.  It was this set of values that helped fuel the American Revolution against the Monarchy of England, and then America's role in the French Revolution in which Masonic conspiracies abounded.
Freemasonry's Cosmic Cross and the American Revolutionaries
Returning our focus to the American Revolution, it is no secret, but perhaps underreported, that the majority of the "Founding Fathers" of the USA were Freemasons. "By reading of the Masonic literature, we have long since become familiar with the fact that Masons of those days played an important part in the founding of our government. It will be a revelation to discover that practically all the leaders in the movement were members of the Craft, who feared not to fight, bleed, and die to carry out those splendid principles which established freedom of thought, speech, and action for future generations." 
And, so was the case with Mr. Benjamin Franklin, who was instrumental in the early days of Philadelphia Masonry, and with the political circles of the Revolution. It was Franklin who published lodge meetings in his newspapers as early as the 1730s, and in whose handwriting we find "July 4, 1730" penned at the top of the ledger of his lodge, "St. John's Lodge," in Philadelphia, in its formative year.  Was Franklin keeping time in the Gregorian calendar, or is this just a coincidence?
Franklin also sought official recognition from the London Grand Lodge via the colony's appointed "Provincial Grand Master" sometime in 1733. After the lodge had fallen into a state of disrepair some years later, Franklin applied to the London body directly, in 1750, for an official dispensation, which he was granted. There is no question, therefore, that Franklin and his brothers were aware of the astrology inherent to the London body. In fact, this astrology may be the most important facet of that Grand Lodge's authority and respect.
On June 24, 1776, another Sun/Jupiter eclipse occurred in Cancer about 10° earlier than the eclipse in 1717 (See Figure 4), and Franklin, perhaps defiantly but not surprisingly, imposed the astrological signatures of the 1717 body onto the assembly at Philadelphia in 1776:
Noon, June 24, 1717 (O.S.) London Noon, June 24, 1776, (N.S.) Philadelphia MC ------- 13º10' Cancer MC ------- 03º35' Cancer Sol ------ 13º10' Cancer Sol ------ 03º35' Cancer Jupiter -- 13º06' Cancer; Lat. +0º06' Jupiter -- 03º37' Cancer; Lat. -0º05' Saturn --- 13º08' Libra Saturn --- 17º35' Libra ASC ------ 10º05' Libra Luna ----- 10º24' Libra
Notice that 1776 Luna is transiting the 1717 ASC.
Due to the calendar changeover from Julian to Gregorian in England in 1752, we find that the Sun/Jupiter eclipse enigmatically manifests on the same sacred date while in different decans of Cancer. Again we find Jupiter and Saturn in their exaltations, Saturn having returned to Libra as well; Jupiter on his fifth, and Saturn on his second return since 1717, highlighting the ~60 year chronocrating cycle, but in that magical square from Cancer to Libra. The summer of 1776 was indeed viewed as the destined time for the Masonic brotherhood to take gigantic step in their lengthy quest to enact a new government based on the values of those Europeans who dared to challenge the oppressive monarchies of Europe with the liberating and higher ideals of democracy and freedom.
The actual vote to adopt the D of I did not occur until July 2nd. Thomas Jefferson began to pen the D of I only after June 7, when Richard Henry Lee submitted his Resolution Proposing a Declaration of Independence.  It is not unthinkable that the new nation was intended to be a subsidiary concern of the Masonic body in London, rather than an isolated entity without any connections to the non-monarchial powers in the Old World. This would ensure continued economic and legal ties with most of England's empire. A noon chart for July 4, 1776 boasts a near-exact solar return of the original Grand Lodge of London, only this time at Philadelphia as seen in this next table and charts:
June 24, 1717 (O.S.), London, 12:04 PM LMT July 4, 1776, Philadelphia, 12:04 PM LMT MC ------- 13º10' Cancer MC ------- 13º07' Cancer Sol ------ 13º10' Cancer Sol ------ 13º07' Cancer Jupiter -- 13º06' Cancer Jupiter -- 05º53' Cancer Saturn --- 13º08' Libra Saturn --- 14º48' Libra Luna ----- 28º04' Taurus Luna ----- 24º06' Aquarius Mercury -- 17º46' Cancer Mercury -- 24º18' Cancer Venus ---- 17º18' Cancer Venus ---- 02º51' Cancer Mars ----- 14º12' Sagittarius Mars ----- 21º14' Gemini ASC ------ 10º05' Libra ASC ------ 11º23' Libra N Node --- 08º37' Libra N Node --- 06º36' Leo
Why would Franklin and company, if interested in the astrological benefits of a good Sun/Jupiter cazimi, not want to plan the signing of D of I around the 24th of June? One reason may have to do with the rivalry between two camps of Freemasons, the "ancients" and the "moderns." For nearly 25 years before 1776, a schism in the realm of Freemasonry grew to a fevered pitch. The "moderns," meaning Freemasons who were beholden to the Grand Lodge of England of 1717, and who also were a rather elitist group with only a handful of lodges in the principal port cities in the Colonies, began to wane in both numbers and relevance. This was mainly due to efforts of "anceint" Masons, who considered themselves the true adherents to the earliest historic roots of the craft's Medieval heritage, and who proliferated their own brand of Masonry into a broader demographic class of Americans. By the time the Revolution was in full swing, "modern" Freemasons such as Franklin were finding their Masonic poisitions to be less relevant in their social standing. At Franklin's funeral, there was little mention or reverence to his long and substantial career as a Freemason.  This may be a reason for the choice of July 4, as it was a solar return of the chart for the 1717 Grand Lodge, and thus a way to subvert the rising influence of "ancient" Masons who held little respect for the 1717 Grand Lodge.
Franklin had been a proponent of colonial union in 1754 for the purposes of trade, defense and legal continuity. The so-called "Albany Plan" was authenticated on July 10, 1754,  under an unusual alignment of Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Mars, and Regulus (see Figure 6). On this date, Luna anti-culminated while it was at 0º Aries, providing an astrological energy perfect for starting a new enterprise.
Freemasonry's Cosmic Cross and the American Revolutionaries (cont'd)
Here is where we can return to Sibly for the Masonic connection that will complete the picture. We had already discussed that Sibly's radical angles could only be drawn for London, the location of the Grand Lodge, a fact known to Rudhyar and Robson. However, the planetary positions are those that occurred at noon over Philadelphia, as is seen in this table:
Planet Sibly Noon @ Philadelphia 7-4-76 Swiss Ephemeris data Sol 13°08' 13°07' Luna 24°0' 24°06' Mercury 23°21' 24°18' Venus 2°48' 2°51' Mars 21°17' 21°14' Jupiter 5°58' 5°53' Saturn 14°50' 14°48' N Node 7°37' 7°36'
The positions of Sol and Luna are accurate to the tolerance of what was available to Sibly at that time. Noteworthy is the accurate computation of geocentric Luna, which shows how good the English were with adjusting for parallax. Notice the wide discrepancy of Mercury, which is much harder to plot when in Sol's aura, as well as Uranus' conspicuous absence, which was not at all a factor in any elective astrology of the day.
There are other astrological goodies in the Sibly chart as well. He claims that he chose the particular angles of 19*49' AQU and 13*12' SAG as they were near to the ascendants of the two preceding solar cardinal ingress charts:
Cancer ingress @ London 1776..........ASC 16º44' Aquarius
Aries ingress @ London 1776...........ASC 8º30' Sagittarius
Cancer ingress @ Philadelphia 1776....ASC 7º34' Sagittarius
There is no doubt that the Sibly angles do occur at the site of the Grand Lodge of London once every sidereal day, but remarkable is the fact that on July 4, 1776, at London, when the ASC hit 19º49' Aquarius (9:54 PM LMT, London), the Part of Fortune (derived by taking the arc of the Sun to the Moon and then adding this to the ascendant) was conjunct Jupiter -- the eclipsed planet in the 1717 chart -- again highlighting this most favorable of planets.
Figure 1-f Astrology wheel showing POF conjunct Jupiter
on July 4, 1776, when using the Sibly angles.
AND, if we insert the same "9:54 PM" time into a Philadelphia chart, we find Luna exactly on the Ascendant on the cusp of Pisces!
Figure 1-g Chart for Philadelphia using the 9:54 time, showing Luna rising.
I find Luna's cuspal position rather fascinating. Did the Freemasons have a notion that they were perhaps entering the "age of Aquarius," which is defined as the vernal equinox moving from Pisces to Aquarius?
Finally, what are we to make of the "10:10 PM" time cited by Sibly, when, above, 19º49' Aquarius is shown rising some 16 minutes earlier? Knowing he has placed Philadelphia planets in a London grid, does he mean Philadelphia time or London time?
John B. Earley felt strongly that this time was local Philadelphia time, as evidenced in his pamphlet. But we have no way of knowing whether he knew of the Sibly chart or not; he makes no mention of it. Earley claims to arrive at the 10:10 PM time via a copy of an ephemeris from 1776, in the margin of which was written (allegedly by the owner), "July 4, 10:10 PM, American Independence signed," with the planetary positions of that date underscored in purple ink.  It is possible that the ephemeris' original owner had access to the Sibly data, and that this was not obvious to Earley who then rectifies his time to 10:04 PM, placing 4º of Pisces on the ascendant:
Figure 1-h Scan of Earley's published chart from 1914.
The Ascendant is 4°09' Pisces, and the MC is 15°50' Sagittarius.
A current calculation would show that Luna rose "in mundo" (attained 0º altitude) over Philadelphia on that day at this minute of LMT:
Figure 1-i Sky map of Earley's Luna rising in mundo.
This chart boasts mutual reception between Luna and Jupiter, while the stellium in Cancer is trine to the ascendant - of which Earley sings praises: "No other astronomical figure could be erected for the twenty-four hours of July 4, 1776, that would so truly symbolize the marvelous growth and expansion of the country as does this map." 
Did Earley do the proper math? Surely he wanted Luna rising, but shouldn't he have added four minutes instead? What are the special mundane characteristics of Luna on that date? She is conjunct Iota Aquarii, in square to the Pleiades, and thus also in square to the original 1717 Luna that was conjunct the Pleiades. The Pleiades are prominent in other important Masonically-influenced political charts. Interestingly, New York City is astronomically tied to Giza cartographically via the Pleiades; as Alcyone culminates over Manhattan, it sets in mundo at Giza.
The Inauguration of George Washington in 1789 finds the cluster culminant as well.  The date, April 30, was the Pagan celebration of "Beltane," and was originally based upon the Sun's annual conjunction to the Pleiades, marking the beginning of springtime. 
Some years later, the granting of Congressional authority for Thomas Jefferson to take possession of the Louisiana Purchase saw Luna occulting the Pleiades,  on the day that is the calendrical counterpart to Beltane - Halloween, October 31, 1803.
Big Ben in London first rang during Luna's occultation of the Pleiades  as well; the works were still not complete, and the bell was silent for some time afterward, suggesting that things were hurried in order to fit the astrological event, rather than a more practical time frame that allowed the clock to keep running uninterrupted.
Looking to Sibly's chart, we have to take into account the meaning of "PM" in an 18th century context. "Local Mean Time," or LMT, was a new innovation at that time. Before that, time was reckoned by "apparent" means, usually the Sun passing over the local meridian to what is called "high noon." By this method, "noon" on July 4, 1776, occurred at 12:04 PM by our modern standards of "mean time" at Philadelphia. Therefore, if we add the 4 minutes to Sibly's 10:10 PM, we would get 10:14 PM, and at that moment over London, the fixed star Regulus is exactly setting in mundo with an altitude of 0º, while iota Aquarii is rising silmultaneously.
Figure 1-j Skymaps of London for 10:14 PM LMT, showing iota Aquarii rising while Regulus sets.
Of course, Regulus in the astrological traditions of the West signifies royalty, and more specifically the king. Regulus setting could therefore symbolize the demise of the King of England, George III, at least in the colonial theater.
It's important to note that Regulus is one of the four stars that mark the zodiacal "square" of constellational Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius, and Taurus, mentioned in the Bible as the Lion, Ox, Eagle, and Man. In the rituals of Royal Arch Masonry, these four symbols are emblazoned on banners for the initiate. In terms of the zodiac and ecliptic, Regulus, the Pleiades, Graffias, and an unnamed star in Aquarius called "iota Aquarii" are almost evenly spaced at 90º. Due to precession, these stars are all near the cusps of tropical Virgo, Gemini, Sagittarius and Pisces, respectively, but at the time of the Carolingian Renaissance, they occupied the midpoints of the zodiac's cardinal points:
Star 2000 AD 800 AD Pleiades (eta Taurii) 00º00' Gemini 13º17' Taurus Regulus (alpha Leonis) 29º50' Leo 13º12' Leo Graffias (beta Scorpii) 03º11' Sagittarius 15º17' Scorpio Iota Aquarii 28º43' Aquarius 11º49' Aquarius
It is easy to see that these stars occupied the mid-quarter points in the 9th Century, which was a crucial age for the consolidation of stellar and cosmological practices in Western Europe as a direct result of the Carolingian Renaissance. It was easy to observe solstical events by measuring the shadows of the Sun and, from that, the equinoxes, but it was not as simple to measure the halfway points between these cardinal solar transits. Noting when the above stars culminated at midnight would enable the observer to help reckon the calendar and ensure that the proper festivals were celebrated on the proper days. These dates corresponded to May 2nd/3rd (The Conception), August 4th/5th (St. Oswald), November 1st (All Saints) and February 1st (St. Brigit) of the Roman Julian calendar, as well as the Celtic festivals of Beltane, Lughnasa, Samhain and Imbolc, respectively:
Star Celtic Festival Christian Feast Pleiades (eta Taurii) Beltane Conception of the Virgin Mary Regulus (alpha Leonis) Lughnasa St. Oswald Graffias (beta Scorpii) Samhain All Saints Iota Aquarii Imbolc St. Brigit
Our current unofficial festival called "Groundhog Day" is a bastardization of the pagan mid-winter observation, as is May Day the remnant of the original Beltane, when the Sun was conjunct the Pleiades. Halloween is similarly derived from the acronychal rising of the Pleiades, and the festival of Samhain.
Olcott, in his "Star Lore of All Ages," hints at the Masonic importance of Regulus, "Leo is for many reasons significant to Masons. In the four Royal Stars, the four great Elohim, or Decans, gods ruling the signs, were believed to dwell. The four decans who ruled the four angles of the heavens were the most important and most powerful.
"To these four stars divine honors were paid, and sacred images were erected in which the Lion, Eagle, Ox, and Man were variously combined. These figures on the Royal Arch Banner, and the Royal Arch itself are best exemplified by the appearance of the constellations themselves, and Leo, typical of strength, is at the very summit of the Arch at low twelve [midnight] on Feb 5th..." 
They were cardinal markers of the tropical zodiac in the 25th Century BC, which was around the time that the pyramids in Egypt were completed, of which the greatest monument to masonry stands to this day, the Great Pyramid of Giza. Another clue to this connection may be Mars' conjunction to the "Great Pyramid" star in Orion's belt, "Alnitak," by ecliptical longitude, in the D of I chart. This is digressing from the Sibly focus, however.
Returning to Sibly, concurrently with Regulus setting, the fixed star "iota Aquarii," also known as "33 Aquarius" in Flamsteed's catalog, is rising, as was stated earlier; this particular star was occulted by Luna on that very day as seen from the latitudes of 40 degrees North, again a nod to the astro-mathematical prowess of the English. This occultation occurred as it transited the local nadir of Philadelphia. Iota Aquarii, being opposite of Regulus and in Aquarius, would signify "the people" and the forces against the Monarchy.
Figures 1-k and 1-l Luna occulting iota Aquarii as it passes the nadir
under Philadelphia on July 4, 1776, at about 3:06 PM LMT.
And, this occultation was a lunar return of the June 7 occultation of that same fixed star on the very day that Freemason Richard Henry Lee submitted his Resolution Proposing a Declaration of Independence! This occultation did occur while the Moon was above the horizon, but was not visible as its duration was during the daytime, from 9:08 AM until 10:08 AM, with the occultation setting below the western horizon at about 10:01 AM. Geodetically, as iota Aquarii sets at Philadelphia, Spica [alpha Virgo] rises over London. Again, these coincidences points to a premeditated set of events planned around Masonic astrology.
Figure 7 Luna occulting iota Aquarii over Philadelphia on the morning that Freemason
Richard Henry Lee submitted his Resolution for a Declaration of Independence.
It makes sense that the Masons believed in an empowering occulting Luna, as Luna also signifies "the people" in a mundane context - doubly so when occulting iota Aquarii on both June 7 and July 4, 1776. Luna, as symbolic of the masses, is in direct proportion to the Sun being symbolic of the Lord, or the King, to whom the masses should reflect his light; the full moon is the epitome of that symbolism, although in later times it was said to give rise to popular unhappiness with the monarchy or leadership.  Therefore, the final and culminating key to Sibly's riddle is in the position of Luna. If we take the 10:10 PM time to be drawn at London, we instead find Luna rising, or at least Luna's ecliptical degree rising. In addition, if the Penfield time is indeed precise, we would find that Luna, relocated to the Great Pyramid, is again on the ascendant. Considering the advances made in determining longitude in the later half of the 18th Century, this synchronistical relocational design is not improbable.
The other fascinating relocational aspect of Sibly's "10:10 PM" time is when we use it as Earley did, as the local time for Philadelphia. If we relocate that chart to London, we find Jupiter and Venus rising, as seen in the following sky chart (Figure 7):
Figure 1-m Eastward view over London at 10:10 PM Philadelphia time of Jupiter and Venus rising
If we take the Penfield time of 2:20 PM (within a minute or two) as the historically proper time, and I think it is, we would find that the ascendant and descendant of that chart, 9º Scorpio/Taurus, fits in nicely with the Sun's transit of these points every year on November 1st and May 1st, thus activating the chart on the Pagan Pleiadian festival dates. Perhaps it is no accident that Federal elections are always held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November, thus ensuring that the national decisions are cast after Sol is safely transiting the first house? McCluskey has traced the codification of "All Saint's Day" to the festival of Samhain as a product of Carolingian efforts. 
Lastly, one of the paragons of Freemasonry was its lack of discrimination to brothers of different religious denominations. Brothers from any strain of Christianity, and eventually Jews and non-Judeo religions were allowed into the lodge, provided that they professed a belief in the one God who created the universe. These concepts found their way into our Constitution in the innovative concept of "separation of church and state." Thus, what was "sacred" in European realms would have to be redefined in the New World. Secular and Sacred lines were drawn, but for Masonry in America, nation-building, and then the building of the nation's capitals, courthouses, and monuments, would be kept a metamorphosis of the sacred, and thus subject to astronomy and sacred geometry. Freemasons, like the Knights Templars before them, were an international group that was above the political boundaries of Europe's monarchies. The situation was similar in 18th Century America, where entangling interests that originated in Europe had been difficult to reconcile with existing models of statehood. New common ground was desperately needed to alleviate these tensions, and Freemasonry was best suited to handle the task.
Central to the Masonic pseudo-sacred ceremonial event was an astronomical intelligence deemed necessary to cement political allegiance to the cause for independence. This intelligence was preserved in the traditions of the cross-cultural and anti-monarchial Freemasons. Sibly, in his most eloquently crafted symbolic chart, defines the very soul of what Freemasonry's aims are, as well as how and why they were manifested in the revolution of America - a nation that he asserts "will soon or late give laws to the whole world." This is quite a statement to make about thirteen colonies that were at best a meager outpost of the larger English realm. There is no question that the elective astrology that determined the USA's conceptual moment in history was inspired by the Freemasons of New England that were beholden to the Grand Lodge of London, and Sibly invokes the astrological backdrop of Masonic neo-secularism to show that the new nation was borne from within the traditions of the Freemasons, and was perhaps created to serve the ultimate designs of the craft itself.
However, it is somewhat obscure as to whether Sibly was giving out the "time" of the Declaration of Independence, and thus presenting a "birth chart" for the nation. If he was indeed privy to the actual time of the signing, it surely was through Masonic circles; if this was the case, it would be hard to dispute this time, and we would do well to use it. It is likely that the Freemasons who were searching for a propitious time to empower their new political entity called the "United States" might have seen his time as perfect for a thumping astro-symbolic volley. If Sibly was not aware of the precise "moment," we can still glean much from his efforts as to what was astrologically important to the Freemasons.
With his astrological genius, Sibly wrapped a series of charts, elements, histories, and symbols into one cryptic map that, once deciphered, enlightens us to a rich history of Masonic cultivation of the social structures that helped to shape America, for better or for worse. It is quite remarkable that Sibly was able to predict the USA's rise to world dominance some 150 years before the end of World War II: "...the state of America shall in time have an extensive and flourishing commerce; an advantageous and universal traffic to every quarter of the globe, with great fecundity and prosperity amongst the people.... a new empire that shall soon or late give laws to the whole world." I wonder who else was as hopeful as Sibly in 1780!
A special thanks goes out to astrologer Michelle Young, who helped make this essay more comprehensible, grammatically correct, and ultimately more readable.
 AFA, Astrological Americana, AFA publications, Tempe, AZ, 1949, pp. 7-8.
 Osten, Gar, The Astrological Chart of the United States, Stein and Day, New York, 1976, p. 17.
 Howard, Lewis, Astrology and the United States, Llewellyn Publications, Los Angeles, 1951, p. 5.
 AFA, Astrological Americana, pp. 5-6.
 AFA, Astrological Americana, pp. 9-10.
 Penfield, Marc Hereen, Horoscopes of the Western Hemisphere, ACS Publications, San Diego, CA, 1984, p. 17.
 AFA, Astrological Americana, p. 5.
 Rudhyar, Dane, The Astrology of America's Destiny, Vintage Books/Random House, New York, 1974, p. 69.
 Earley, John B., Horoscopes of the USA, Kessinger Publications, Kila, MT (reprint), 1914.
 Rudhyar, pp. 74-5.  AFA, Astrological Americana, AFA Publications, Tempe, AZ; p. 4
 Penfield, p. 17.
 AFA, Astrological Americana, AFA Publications, Tempe, AZ, 1949, pp. 25 - 33.
 For more on the topic, see Heilbron, J. L., The Sun in the Church: Cathedrals as Solar Observatories, Harvard University Press, London, 1999.
 Brown, Robert Hewitt, Stellar Theology and Masonic Astronomy, D. Appleton and Company, New York, 1882, pp. 74 ff.
 Zadkiel's commentary on William Lilly and cazimi, "The heart of Sol, or being within 17' of the exact longitude of Sol; which is considered a strong prognostication, but we think, erroneously," [page 338 of An Introduction to Astrology, Newcastle, Hollywood, CA, reprint of 1972] is not backed up by other researches, including Fred Gettings and Nicholas DeVore, but it may be that the planetary nature is excited to higher degrees, and in the case of Jupiter it would follow that this is very fortunate.
 Solar eclipses of Jupiter occur with regularity, as Jupiter's latitude does not stray far from the ecliptic, and maxes out at about 78'. A similar eclipse occurred on St. John's Day in 1634, but not over London. From the Heliocentric and Tropical viewpoint, Jupiter's nodes progress through the zodiac at about 62' per century. From the Heliocentric and Sidereal veiwpoint, this same node moves retrograde by about 23' per century.
 Steinmentz, George H., The Royal Arch: Its Hidden Meaning, Macoy Publishing, Richmond, VA, 1946, pp. 85-86.
 McCluskey, Stephen C., Astronomies and Cultures of Early Medieval Europe, Cambridge University Press, 1998, pp. 165 ff.
 Bromwel, H. P. H., Restorations of Masonic Geometry and Symbolry Kessinger Publications, Montana (reprint), 1903, pp. 96 - 114.
 Fay, Bernard, Revolution and Freemasonry, Little, Brown, and Company, Boston, 1935, pp. 30 - 44.
 Roth, Philip A.,Masonry in the Formation of Our Government (1761 - 1799), (Kessinger Publications, Montana, USA (reprint), 1927, p. 15.
 Sachse, Julius F., Benjamin Franklin's Account with the "Lodge of Masons 1731 - 1737, Kessinger Publications, Montana, USA, (reprint), 1898, p. 5.
 This is paraphrased from many chapters in Bullock, Steven C., Revolutionary Brotherhood University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 1996.
 Lee, Richard Henry, Resolution Introduced in the Continental Congress by Richard Henry Lee (VA) Proposing a Declaration of Independence, June 7, 1776, can be found in the Papers of the Continental Congress No. 23, folio 11. Hayden, on page 211 of his Washington and His Masonic Compeers [Masonic Publishing and Manufacturing Co., New York, 1866], claims Lee was a member of Hiram Lodge No. 59 at Westmoreland County, Virginia.
 Franklin, Benjamin, Reasons and Motives for the Albany Plan of Union, July 1754.
 Earley, p. 1.
 Historical Magazine, 3 (1859), p. 184. Source gives the time of his Inauguration as 1:00 PM. Other sources have given times as early as 12:45 PM. George Bush gave a speech in 1989 to mark the 200th anniversary of the occasion, and his remarks began at 12:53 PM, according to the Bush Presidential Library. A congressional party did meet Washington at his mansion at 12:30 to escort him to the Federal Hall, and the 1:00 PM time would allow for the journey, which stopped for a 13-gun salute along the way.
 Many sources are available for this, most recently Bernadette Brady's Fixed Stars, pp. 237 ff., as well as Olcott, pp. 407 ff, and R. H. Allen's Star Names, pp. 391 ff.
 October 31, 1803;
 May 31, 1859.
 Olcott, William Tyler, Star Lore of All Ages, 1911, (Kessinger Publications, Montana, USA, reprint), pp. 234-235.
 William Lilly said of Luna, "She signifieth queens, countesses, ladies, all manner of women; as also the common people..." Christian Astrology, 1647.
 McCluskey, pp. 63 - 64.
Note P.G.: Other essays in astrology can be found at Ed's website, StarTiming.
All rights reserved © 2002 Edward Kohout