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Abraham Lincoln - The Great Emancipator

Abraham Lincoln

An astrological assessment of his life and achievements

DW Sutton

Every now and then an extraordinary human soul does great and wondrous things but, very often, the historians and commentators who analyze spectacular human achievement fail to explain the greatness. In Abraham Lincoln’s case:  How did a Kentucky farm boy become America’s greatest president? There is a simple explanation. The analysts are missing a key piece in the life story – his birthchart. It reveals the astrology behind the greatness. The assessment provided by the astrological historian, working with the real-life story and the astrological script, is the most authentic of all. And in Lincoln’s case the personal astrology, and the character it mapped, was far more influential than the situational force called environment. Many consider him to be the most enigmatic president, but his astrology code strips away all the mystery and reveals the real man. It explains what his family life and environment can’t.

Abraham Lincoln's birthchart and astrodynes

Abraham Lincoln's birthchart

Abraham Lincoln's astrodynes

Abraham Lincoln was born February 12, 1809, near Hodgenville, southeast Hardin County, Kentucky (85W44: 37N32) at 6.56am LMT. (See note on the chart data.) And his birthchart reveals that Mercury, the planet of intelligence, perception, problem solving, clever talk, storytelling and restlessness is the dominate planet. It’s in the first house (his personality) and is cusp ruler of the fourth (his father), the fifth (his children and theaters) and co-ruler (Virgo intercepted) of the seventh (his wife and open enemies).

Mercury – the thinking that strives to solve problems – is high in discord and the discord matched the degree of difficulty the problems posed and the toll they took on Abe’s health and mental wellbeing. And with Mercury in the second decanate of Pisces (and the Moon in the twelfth house) his life was filled with restriction and limitation simply because he understood the true meaning of universal brotherhood. The astrological evidence (Mercury in the second decanate of Pisces trine Uranus in the eighth house) reveals that Lincoln was chosen by those on the spirit side of life to alleviate the physical and mental suffering of those human souls who were being held in involuntary servitude.

Mercury forms an agitation (sesquisquare) aspect with Mars – the planet of war, conflict and violence in the eighth house (death); a prominence (conjunction) aspect with Jupiter – the planet of law, mercy and honesty in the first house (his personality); an obstacle (square) aspect with Saturn – the planet of work, responsibility and persistence in the ninth house (legal matters, laws and public speaking); a luck (trine) aspect with Uranus – planet of freedom, liberty, extremists and unforeseen events in the eighth house (taxes and death); an obstacle (square) aspect with Neptune – planet of idealism, schemes and slavery in the ninth house (the law, legal processes, the constitution and speeches); and a prominence (conjunction) aspect with Pluto – the planet of cooperation, spirituality, persuasion, coercion, disunity and drastic events in the first house (his personality).

With Mercury aspecting Uranus, Neptune and Pluto Lincoln was a very progressive thinker; and with Mercury aspecting Mars and Saturn (and Mars square Moon) he was courageous, resolute and practical. The Mercury aspect structure wrote his life-story. It mapped a progressive, sensitive, humanitarian thinker, who had the initiative, courage, energy and persistence to work for what he believed was right (Pisces); but he could only achieve his visionary goal through a political process. And the Sun – planet of politics – has an outstanding influence in his birthchart.

It’s in the first house (his personality) and forms a prominence (conjunction) aspect with the ascendant. This Sun-ascendant conjunction – the strongest aspect in the chart – marks for self-confidence, moderation, political talent, a life-long love affair with politics and a remarkable capacity to dominate and exercise power and authority. This conjunction is in the third decanate of Aquarius – the sign that champions human rights and loves debate – and Lincoln had a clear understanding of human nature, a capacity to see the bigger picture and to view things from a social welfare perspective, and a keen interest in helping to make the world a better place.

But with the Sun (and Mercury) forming an obstacle (square) aspect with Saturn – the planet of hardship, loss, setbacks and disappointment – the road he traveled was paved with difficulty. But in the end that confident, intelligent personality won through – the Sun and Mercury were stronger than Saturn – and with the Sun forming a luck (trine) aspect with Mars victory in the Civil War was assured.

Neptune, the planet of involuntary servitude and slavery, is conjunction Saturn, the planet of labor and work, in the ninth house (publicly expressed opinion, speeches, debating, legal matters, the law and constitution). Saturn is cusp ruler of the twelfth house (slavery) and with Saturn and Neptune conjunction the MC his name and legacy have stood the test of time. This aspect reveals that his fame, reputation and greatness (MC) as ‘the great emancipator’ is irrefutably linked to his freeing of the slaves and their emancipation from involuntary servitude (Saturn and Neptune).

With the high-discord Moon in the twelfth house (sorrows and limitations) Lincoln was a man of many sorrows. And with the Moon forming an obstacle (square) aspect with Mars he didn’t have much luck with women, but he did have a courageous mentality. The Moon is the weakest planet in his chart so his hunches and feelings played second fiddle to his objective thinking and reasoning powers (Mercury). Lincoln preferred to deal with facts and cold-hard evidence, rather than engage in guesswork and speculation.

The planets with above-average power are Mercury, Sun, Pluto and Mars and they sum up his life story. He was motivated by a deep seated sympathy for others (Pisces), loyalty to a cause (Sagittarius) and altruistic and humanitarian impulses (Aquarius). There wasn’t much environmental support so that dynamic personality (first house) had to take the reins, accept the challenges and make all those tough decisions. But to achieve great things the thinking, discussion and decision-making needed a spiritual elevator. It needed an exalted emotional driver and Venus trine Neptune – the best aspect in Lincoln’s chart – sourced a powerful emotional force – idealized love. And this noble state of mind drove his intellectual humanitarian impulse (Mercury conjunction Pluto) to free the slaves and unite the nation.

Lincoln was born and raised in the backwoods of Kentucky so there was no privileged upbringing or education and little exposure to the artificialities of city life and the misguided social customs this artificiality breeds. Lincoln achieved what he did because he had the character to do it and his ‘real’ character was allowed to develop naturally. His birthchart details this character and demystifies the man that so many commentators find a mystery. His chart reveals what the most observant analyst can’t see – a brilliant intellect (spiritualized by Mercury’s conjunction with Pluto); a powerful humanitarian impulse (Aquarius); extraordinary political skills (focused by the Sun’s conjunction with the ascendant and energized by the Sun’s trine to Mars); visionary foresight (Saturn conjunction Neptune) and an ocean of emotion, sympathy, compassion and empathy (Pisces and Venus). And it’s only when Lincoln’s life and achievements are merged with the latent energy stored in his character, as revealed by his astrology code, that the slightly blurred image of this extraordinary human soul comes into crystal clear focus.


By 1860 the United States of America was a house divided. Slavery had caused the Northern and Southern states to develop different economic, social and political systems and these differences set the stage for conflict and separation. Compromise, cooperation and reconciliation seemed impossible. The two brothers had their backs to each other and that’s the war sign.   

1860 was a fateful year. Uranus – the planet of liberty, change and extreme events – having made a complete transit of the US birthchart returned to its birthchart position. And this astrological event signaled a shift to a new phase of existence through cataclysmic change. That year the Republican Party nominated Abraham Lincoln – a man with high moral humanitarian values – as their presidential candidate. 

In 1860 the country was split – the Democrats were split – and Lincoln won the election with 180 Electoral College votes, without a single southern vote. He carried every free-state except New Jersey and the slave states knew they had lost control of the national government. On February 18, 1861 they responded by forming the Confederate States of America with Jefferson Davis as president. The contentious issue of slavery had finally split the nation. The South thought slavery was right and Lincoln and the North thought it was wrong and Lincoln’s task was to right the wrong and unite the union. 

A simple beginning

Abraham Lincoln was born and raised on a farm in Kentucky. His parents – Thomas and Nancy Hanks Lincoln – were illiterate and his father disapproved of books and learning and Abe grew up helping his father and mother doing farm chores. He received little formal education and in 1816 (aged 7) moved with his family to Pigeon Creek, Indiana. In 1818 (aged 9) his mother fell ill and died and the following year his father married Sarah Bush Johnson. Abe and his new step-mother had good relations and she insisted he go to school and learn to read and with Mercury his dominant planet he read everything he could. His father was a skilled carpenter and storyteller, but they had a difficult relationship – Mercury the high-discord dominant planet was ruler of the fourth house (his father). 

In 1828 (aged 19) Abraham Lincoln stood 6 foot 2 inches and weighed 150 pounds. He was tall and strong and nicknamed the ‘rail-splitter’. He also acquired a reputation for story telling – an astrological talent (Mercury) inherited from his father, which eventually developed into great speeches and famous letters. That year (1828) he was hired to take a flatboat of farm produce to New Orleans, where, for the first time he came face to face with slavery. Then in 1830 the Lincolns left Indiana for Illinois and Abe made his second flatboat trip to New Orleans. This time he stayed a month and vowed that if ever he had the chance he would hit slavery and ‘hit it hard’.

His political journey starts

In 1831 (age 22) Abraham Lincoln left home and moved to New Salem where he got employment transporting goods, by flatboat, to New Orleans. He was young, unsettled and very restless (Mercury) and had to learn to concentrate, and harness, all that restless intellectual (Mercury) energy. A teacher – Mentor Graham – provided guidance. He guided Abe’s self-education of mathematics and literature, concentrated his mental energy on a purpose and gave his innate restlessness direction and Abe became a scholar. Then, while working as a store clerk, he was introduced to politics and his soul responded. 

His political career began in 1832 (age 23) when he made an unsuccessful bid for the Illinois legislature – progressed Sun (planet of politics) had moved to form an intensity (parallel) aspect with birthchart Jupiter; and later that year he served briefly as a volunteer in the Black Hawk War – progressed Mercury had moved to form an agitation (sesquisquare) aspect with progressed Mars – planet of war. He saw no fighting and returned to New Salem in July 1932 – his intellectual urge on fire. He was attracted to Henry Clay’s American System that emphasized government support for education, internal improvements, banking and economic development. It provided the promise of personal development and the best opportunity to develop his astrological potential. 

In 1833 he worked in New Salem as the postmaster and assistant surveyor; and in 1834 (aged 25) he was elected to the Illinois legislature. He ran and won in 1834, 1836, 1838 and 1840. At the state capital he began to study law – a ticket to economic success and a political career – and in 1837 became a lawyer. He was self taught. Progressed Sun (at 21 Pisces 44) had moved to form a prominence (conjunction) aspect with birthchart Jupiter (planet of law); and progressed MC (at 6 Capricorn 11) had formed a growth (semisextile) aspect with birthchart Neptune in the ninth house (law). That year he first expressed his political opposition to slavery. In 1843 he formed a law partnership with William H Herndon and while he concentrated on becoming a successful attorney his ambitious wife pushed him towards the higher goal of Congress. 

Lincoln became one of the leading Whigs in Illinois and won election to Congress in 1846 (age 36). He went to Washington the following year. There he took the conventional Whig line on most issues and soon became known as ‘the champion story teller of the Capital.’ But the question of slavery was ever on his mind and during the second session he introduced a bill for the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia. It was rejected and he returned to Springfield disappointed and disillusioned (Saturn and Neptune). After serving one term (1847-49) he decided not to run and in 1849 returned home to Springfield to resume his law practice. Over the following years it prospered and he became famous on the Illinois circuit and was employed on many notable cases. He also won a reputation for his integrity and for his lucid powers of argument. He was a formidable jury lawyer – cutting straight through the legal niceties with a simple penetrating style. At this time with a young family to support and a successful law-practice to manage his interest in politics was fading fast.

Romantic love, emotional heartache and mental bruises

With the Moon in the twelfth house (sorrow) forming an obstacle (square) aspect with Mars in the eighth (death) Lincoln suffered many sorrows and disappointments. His mother died when he was nine – progressed ascendant (at 8 Pisces 23) had moved to form a square aspect with birthchart MC (his mother); progressed Mars (at 26 Libra 52) in the eighth house (death) had moved to form a square aspect with birthchart Moon in the twelfth house (sorrow); and progressed Sun had formed a square aspect with birthchart Saturn – planet of grief and loss. His sister Sarah died ten years later and Anne Rutledge his first and deepest romantic love died August 25, 1835 – progressed Ascendant (at 8 Aries 06) had moved to form a conjunction aspect with Venus – planet of love and lovers – and cusp ruler of the eighth house (death). 

Mary Todd LincolnHe next courted Mary Owens but in May 1837 she rejected his proposal; and in December 1839 he met Mary Todd, his future wife. Their love traveled a bumpy road and after breaking off their engagement on January 1, 1841 he suffered a severe bout of depression – maybe a nervous breakdown – and he described himself as ‘the most miserable man living’. Progressed ascendant (at 17 Aries 33) had moved to form an agitation (sesquisquare) aspect with birthchart Saturn – planet of depression; and progressed Mercury (at 6 Pisces 11R) – planet of restless indecision – had moved to form an obstacle (square) aspect with birthchart Neptune. They rekindled their love in the summer of 1842 and married on November 4. But Mary – well to do, snobbish and domineering – had trouble adjusting to Abe’s financial circumstances. He, of course, was argumentative (Aquarius) and quarrels were common, but their love expanded to embrace four children – Robert, Edward, William and Thomas, but the deaths of Edward and William were heartbreaking experiences.  

Grief, sadness and melancholy are normal responses to emotional loss, but with Saturn conjunction Neptune in his birthchart Lincoln was more sensitive to loss than most. The conjunction aspect brought this feature of his character or soul consciousness into prominence – and with Mercury – cusp ruler of the fifth house (lovers, love affairs and children) – square the Saturn-Neptune conjunction his vivid emotional response to loss disturbed his thinking and mental wellbeing (Mercury). The aspect, as a powerful and permanent thought-structure, mapped the sadness, heartache and distress he felt at the loss of his mother, sister, Anne Rutledge and sons Edward and William. He came to fear (Saturn) his own melancholy streak and his ‘cat-fits’ of depression (Saturn) and indecision (Mercury) did recur.

Lincoln was a lawyer and recent research reveals that depression is common in the legal profession. It’s due to a high-stress emergency lifestyle that results in adrenal burnout – and too much heavy-duty thinking (and a dietary deficiency of calcium and vitamin D) that disturbs the brain’s electrical activity. And as President the Civil War was a 4-year emergency situation. He worked long and hard – 18 hours a day – and the stress and tiredness took its toll on his mental health.

The road to the White House

In 1854 Lincoln was propelled back into politics when the Kansas-Nebraska Act, rammed through Congress by Illinois Senator Stephan A Douglas, revoked the ban on slavery (imposed in 1820) in territories north of 36 degrees 30 minutes. Lincoln had been a long time opponent of slavery and this Act alarmed the deep-seated humanitarian streak in his soul and revitalized his political career. Progressed Sun – planet of politics (at 9 Aries 05) – had moved to form an expansion (inconjunct) aspect with birthchart Uranus – planet of change and human rights; and progressed ascendant (at 9 Taurus 33) had moved to form a separation (opposition) aspect with progressed Uranus. And over the next six years he made 175 anti-slavery speeches (ninth house). 

In 1856 Abe joined the Illinois Republican Party and made an unsuccessful bid for the Republican vice-presidential nomination. In 1857 he opposed the Dred Scott decision and on June 16, 1858 gave his celebrated ‘House Divided’ speech. He expressed the view that ‘The nation cannot exist half slave and half free’ and that ‘A house divided against itself cannot stand.’ Progressed Mercury (at 14 Pisces 58) had moved to form a prominence (conjunction) aspect with progressed Pluto (at 15 Pisces 22) – planet of unity or division and cusp ruler of the ninth house (speeches). 

Lincoln’s position on slavery was reasonable and measured – never extreme or vindictive – and he fully acknowledged the difficulties that a sudden dismantling of the slave system would bring. He opposed the extension of slavery knowing that emancipation would come in God’s good time. Like the prominent birthchart Sun he was a moderate. In 1858 he engaged in a series of seven debates with Stephan A Douglas, who insisted that the country could flourish half slave and half free – as it had done since 1789. Lincoln took the opposing view – claiming that this assertion made a mockery of the ideals of liberty on which the nation had been founded. Lincoln won the debates, but in November, after gaining the Republican Party’s nomination for the senate seat, he lost to Douglas – another disappointment – but the debates allowed him to build national visibility.

On May 18, 1860 the Republican National Congress in Chicago nominated Lincoln for President. During the election campaign the Democrat Party was split between the southern and northern wings and hatred of the South for the North flared up. And on November 6, 1860 Lincoln (age 51) was elected President of the USA. Progressed Sun in his chart (planet of politics at 15 Aries 03) had moved to form a growth (semisextile) aspect with progressed Pluto (at 15 Pisces 25); and progressed MC (at 29 Capricorn 30) – getting the job – had formed a  luck (trine) aspect with progressed Venus and a friction (semisquare) aspect with progressed Pluto – planet of division. He won a clear cut majority – 180 votes to 72 polled by his nearest rival – but the southern states were alarmed: An anti-slaver was to occupy the White House. On March 4 1861 Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated as President and he took the reins of government with the fear of assassination, and the possibility or war, ever present.

The US birthchart and astrodynes –see chart data note for the birth data

The US birthchart

US astrodynes

America is a freedom driven, high-energy country. Uranus – the planet of liberty, independence, autonomy, human-rights and extreme events – is conjunction the ascendant and the country, more than any other, values personal liberty. Uranus is cusp ruler of the tenth house (the administration and business). Mars the planet of energy, initiative, strife, violence, hate, construction, destruction and speed dominates the chart. It’s in the first house (the domestic agenda) and is cusp ruler of the twelfth (slaves). Mercury in the third house is cusp ruler of the first – the people. It forms a high-discord separation (opposition) aspect with Pluto – the planet of division and disunity – in the ninth house (the constitution). And this first house energy pattern – promising liberty, equality, destruction, construction and unity – produced a union of states (Pluto) and liberty for all (Uranus conjunct ascendant), but only after a destructive Civil War (Mars) tore the country apart.

The Moon – planet of fluctuation – is in the tenth house (the President and his administration) – and the competence of the President and the administration’s standard of governance fluctuate greatly. The Moon is the planet of the common people – those whose lives revolve around home and family and who struggle to live and make a living away from the public arena – and their fate rests in the decision-making of the President. If he’s a dud the common people can suffer badly. 

Some Presidents – Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D Roosevelt and Harry S Truman – have been associated with the welfare of the ordinary, everyday folk, not only in America, but around the world. And the ‘war’ presidents made life and death decisions that influenced the lives of millions. Others like George W Bush ignored the everyday people in favour of friends and special interest groups. In the US chart ultra-progressive Uranus – the left wing of politics – and ultra-conservative Saturn – the right wing – are cusp rulers of the tenth house and this diverse energy-pattern – Moon, Saturn and Uranus – has produced a mixed-bag of presidents who can be astrologically labeled reformist, extremist, reactionary, conservative, ultra-conservative, non-progressive, secretive, extraordinary, mediocre and just plain hopeless.

With Venus, Jupiter and Sun in the second house (money and personal wealth) America’s cashed-up and their triple conjunction brings money matters into prominence. She’s the world’s largest economy and throughout her history money has played a prominent role. Jupiter is the planet of financial prosperity and wealth but, even with all that second house harmony, there’s a glitch. Saturn, the planet of poverty and loss, in the fifth house (speculation) forms an obstacle (square) aspect with the Sun and the world’s economic powerhouse is unable to secure, conserve and keep her financial bounty. Greedy Saturn – cusp ruler of the eighth house (debt) – sources nagging feelings of poverty, lack, want, fear and insecurity and the abundant wealth indicated by the Sun-Jupiter conjunction in the second house is frittered away and lost through greed driven speculation, envy, poor planning and other misguided Saturn behaviors – all in a desperate attempt to eliminate the poverty state of consciousness from the national psyche.

The Presidency, civil war and the emancipation of the slaves

Lincoln at AntietamOn assuming the Presidency on March 4, 1861 Abraham Lincoln confronted dire circumstances – the greatest internal crisis to face any President. The nation was divided and during the 1850s his incompetent predecessors – Presidents Pierce and Buchanan (both proslavery) – had neither the mental capacity to see what was happening nor the foresight to do anything about it. President Pierce, in his inaugural address on March 4, 1852 stated: ‘I believe that involuntary servitude, as it exists in different States of this Confederacy, is recognized by the Constitution.’ Lincoln didn’t agree. And under President Buchanan’s watch (southern) states began to leave the union. Lincoln’s election was a catalyst event. Tensions escalated and the division and disunity (Pluto) turned into a drastic situation. A wise and firm decision was required. The nation had two options – it could unite or split. Lincoln chose unity and over the next four years, as the nation tore itself apart in a spectacular display of self-destruction, he held firm. 

Mars conjunction Uranus in the sky – Washington

Mars conjunction Uranus in the sky ? Washington

On April 1, 1861 the signs in the sky turned ominous. Mars – the planet of war, troops and destruction – had moved to form a conjunction aspect with Uranus – planet of liberty, extreme events and sudden developments. The perfect conjunction was formed on April 17 1861 and as Mars closed in a dangerous astrological event played itself out on the world stage. The Washington chart (April 17, 1861 – 2.01pm LMT – 77W01; 38N53) had the Mars-Uranus conjunction in the tenth house (the President) and in the USA birthchart the aspect at 9 Gemini 35 was conjunction birthchart Uranus. And Fort Sumter at Charlestown Harbor (North Carolina) became a flash point. 

Union troops were defending the Fort and Lincoln could send in more troops or provisions. He chose the latter – ‘food for hungry men’ – and notified the South of his peaceful intentions. But Jefferson Davis interpreted this as an act of war and ordered the destruction of the fort before the supply ships arrived. On April 12, 1861 Confederate batteries opened fire and the American Civil War began. The South had been the aggressor and on April 15 Lincoln retaliated. He declared war and immediately called for 75,000 volunteers to preserve the Union. Four years later, when the South surrendered on April 9, 1865, the human cost of uniting the nation and abolishing slavery could be tallied. More than three million men fought in the war and 620,000 – two percent of the population – died, many from disease. The Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862, was the bloodiest day of the war – 23,000 casualties; and at the Battle of Cold Harbor (June 1-12 1862) 7000 Americans fell in 20 minutes.

Abraham Lincoln’s chart progressed to April 12, 1861

Abraham Lincoln?s chart progressed to April 12, 1861

On April 12, 1861 in Abraham Lincoln’s chart progressed Sun (at 15 Aries 28) had moved to form a growth (semisextile) aspect with progressed Pluto (at 15 Pisces 26) – planet of disunity, division and splits;  and progressed MC (at 29 Capricorn 56) had formed a friction (semisquare) aspect  birthchart and progressed Pluto. These Pluto progressions mapped the drastic divisive situation that confronted the President and reveal that the preservation of the Union was Lincoln’s principal driver at the time. Progressed Sun – planet of politics in Aries the sign of military leadership – had moved to form an intensity (parallel) aspect with progressed Mars – planet of war. It activated their birthchart trine. 

The US chart progressed to April 12, 1861

US chart progressed to April 12, 1861

The USA chart on April 12, 1861 pictured a drastic conflict situation that had reached a critical tipping point. Progressed Mercury (at 26 Libra 12) in the sixth house (the army and troops) had moved to form a high-discord obstacle (square) aspect with progressed Pluto (at 26 Capricorn45R) – planet of disunity and drastic developments in the ninth house (the Constitution). And progressed Moon (at 25 Pisces 53) in the eleventh house (Congress) was inconjunct progressed Mercury and sextile progressed Pluto. On April 12, 1861 the stimulation provided by the Moon set-off the latent Mercury-Pluto energy which, like a time-bomb, was waiting to explode. 

The time-bomb in the US chart had started ticking on November 28, 1858 when progressed ascendant (domestic issues) in the third house moved to form a prominence (conjunction) aspect with progressed Mars (war). On April 12, 1861 the progressed ascendant, now in the fourth house (the homeland), was at 15 Leo 07 with progressed Mars at 15 Leo 48. Throughout the entire war the progressed ascendant closed in on Mars and their perfect conjunction was formed on November 3, 1865. By then the land (fourth house) was soaked in blood (Mars) and reconstruction had commenced. 

Saturn is the planet of disease, misery and suffering and progressed Saturn in the US chart – at 21 Libra 47 in the fifth house and cusp ruler of the eighth house (death) – had moved to form an agitation (sesquisquare) aspect with birthchart ascendant (the people). This astrological event influenced the entire Civil War although other aspects involving Saturn (progressed ascendant sextile birthchart Saturn; progressed Venus parallel progressed Saturn; and progressed Sun parallel birthchart Saturn) kept the misery coming and stimulated the (eighth house) death toll. This Saturn-ascendant aspect reached its peak in August 1868 and stayed around till November 1875 so the suffering and economic hardship caused by the war didn’t end on April 9, 1865. 

The critical ‘disunity’ aspect – progressed Mercury square progressed Pluto – had commenced on December 16, 1860 and Mississippi seceded on January 9, 1861 followed by North Carolina and seven other states on January 10. On February 8, 1861 they established the Confederate States of America and on February 18 Jefferson Davis was sworn in as President. This Mercury-Pluto square reached its critical peak on September 7, 1861 and then progressed Mercury moved to form a square aspect with birthchart Pluto. This aspect commenced in February 1862, reached its peak on November 4, 1862 and finished on August 4, 1863. By then the fighting that had started under progressed ascendant conjunction progressed Mars was being stimulated by progressed Mars semisquare progressed Venus and progressed Mars opposition birthchart Moon – although this aspect, which reached its peak on February 18, 1865, signed for another hate-driven act of violence that the suffering nation was to experience and endure. 

After declaring war Lincoln was an unfaltering leader, but the stress and frustration was severe and constant. He was a war time President who took a realistic view and for three months (because his constitutional duties as commander-in-chief superseded his normal presidential activities) he exceeded his executive authority (Pluto). On April 27, 1861 he suspended the writ of habeas corpus (a drastic Pluto measure). He vigorously conducted the war effort – no easy task – and although he was inexperienced in military matters he played an active role in determining war strategy. Lincoln fought the Civil War to save the Union and the democratic authority vested in its government and denied that he intended to interfere in any way with Southern institutions. He did declare secession illegal – the essence of anarchy (Uranus) – and pledged himself to maintaining the possession of the federal government. He saw the war as a way to preserve a union ‘conceived in liberty (Uranus) and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal’ and actively engaged in shaping Union war aims and mobilizing armies.

On November 8, 1861 a serious diplomatic incident occurred when the warship San Jacinto took two Confederate commissioners, on their way to Europe, from the Royal Mail Packet Trent. Lord Palmerston demanded their surrender and an apology. Lincoln complied and war with England was averted. In his chart progressed Sun (at 6N19) – cusp ruler of the seventh house (international incidents) – had moved to form an intensity (parallel) aspect with progressed Mercury (at 6S29); and progressed ascendant (at 19 Taurus 14) had formed a friction (semisquare) aspect with progressed Jupiter (ships). Progressed Moon – at 2 Capricorn 31 (the sign of diplomacy) – was semisextile birthchart Saturn – the cautious, prudent planet.

By 1862 Lincoln had called for a million soldiers to serve three years. He’d assumed supreme control of the war effort, but on February 20, 1862 he experienced personal tragedy when his son Willie died of typhoid. Progressed Mercury – cusp ruler of the fifth house (children) at 19 Pisces 05 – had moved to form an inconjunct (expansion) aspect with progressed Mars – planet of fever – in the eighth house (death). His wife, Mary, never recovered from the loss. By now Abe was working 18 hours a day and later that year he came to realize that he must smite at the ‘heart of the rebellion’ – slavery. He had the constitutional right to seize enemy property being used to wage war and slaves were enemy property. 

Abraham Lincoln’s chart progressed to January 1, 1863

Abraham Lincoln?s chart progressed to January 1, 1863

On September 22, 1862 he issued a preliminary proclamation warning that in states still in rebellion on January 1, 1863, he would use his war powers to declare their slaves free: And on January 1 he did. Progressed Sun in his chart (at 17 Aries 10) had moved to form an agitation (sesquisquare) aspect with birthchart Saturn in the ninth house (new laws and proclamations) and cusp ruler of the twelfth house (slavery). He had twelve progressed aspects involving the rulers of the ninth house – Mars, Saturn, Neptune and Pluto; and four progressed aspects involving Saturn – cusp ruler of the twelfth. 

US chart progressed to January 1, 1863

US chart progressed to January 1, 1863

In the US chart on January 1, 1863 progressed Mercury (at 28 Libra 32) had moved to form an obstacle (square) aspect with birthchart Pluto in the ninth house (new laws and proclamations); progressed Jupiter (at 22 Cancer 20) had moved to form an opportunity (sextile) aspect with birthchart Neptune – planet of involuntary servitude; progressed Saturn (at 21 Libra 59) – cusp ruler of the ninth house – had moved to form a growth (semisextile) aspect with birthchart Neptune; progressed ascendant (at 16 Leo 25) had moved to form a prominence (conjunction) aspect with  progressed Mars – cusp ruler of the twelfth house (slaves); and progressed Moon (at 22 Aries 14) had formed an opposition aspect with progressed Saturn and an inconjunct aspect with birthchart Neptune activating their progressed semisextile aspect and the ninth house.

On June 3, 1863 General Lee with 75,000 Confederate troops set out on his second attempt to invade Union states. At the Battle of Gettysburg – July 1-4 – his troops, advancing over open terrain, were torn to shreds by the Union army. It was the bloodiest battle in the war so far with 40,000 dead. At the same time General Grant defeated the South at Vicksburg and the Confederacy was effectively split in two. These victories marked a turning point in the war. Then, hoping to weaken morale and destroy the South’s economic ability, Lincoln authorized the destruction of southern infrastructure – plantations, railroads, bridges and towns. On November 19, 1863 Lincoln gave his Gettysburg address dedicating the battlefield there to the soldiers who had perished. Progressed Mercury – planet of speeches (at 21 Pisces 13) – in his chart had moved to form a prominence (conjunction) aspect with birthchart Jupiter; and progressed MC (at 2 Aquarius 29) – a moment of honour – had moved to form an opportunity (sextile) aspect with birthchart Saturn in the ninth house (speeches).

Throughout the war Lincoln’s generals let him down. Ulysses S Grant was his best and he was put in charge of the Union forces on April 4, 1864. On June 7, 1864 the Republican Party nominated Lincoln for a second term. At the Battle of Cold Harbor (June 1-12, 1864) Lee delayed Grant’s advance on Richmond; and on November 8, 1864 Lincoln was reelected. Progressed Sun in his chart – planet of politics (at 18 Aries 59) – had moved to form an opposition (separation) aspect with progressed Mars; progressed ascendant (at 23 Taurus 07) had moved to form an obstacle (square) aspect with birthchart Sun; progressed Mercury (at 22 Pisces 27) had moved to form a prominence (conjunction) aspect with birthchart Jupiter – cusp ruler of the tenth house (getting the job); and progressed MC – career moves (at 3 Aquarius 26) – had moved to form an opportunity (sextile) aspect with progressed Saturn. 

On November 16, 1864 (after five months of bitter fighting) General Sherman took Atlanta and wreaked havoc. And on March 2, 1865 Lincoln rejected General Lee’s plea for peace talks, demanding unconditional surrender. On March 4 he was sworn in as President and delivered his inauguration address. Then on April 9 General Robert E Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S Grant at Appomattox Courthouse and the Civil War that almost destroyed a nation was over. In Lincoln’s chart progressed Mercury (at 23 Pisces 00) had moved to form a prominence (conjunction) aspect with birthchart Jupiter and a growth (semisextile) aspect with birthchart Sun. The Sun and Mercury rule the seventh house – the enemy and the war. 

A violent ending 

On April 9, 1865 when Lee surrendered Lincoln declared victory and the war that claimed over 620,000 American lives came to an end. The north celebrated big-time, but who knows how the President felt? At Gettysburg he had redefined the American nation. He argued that it was born in 1776 not 1789 and ‘conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.’ After four grueling years he had accomplished what he had set out to do. Victory is sweet and no doubt he felt a tremendous sense of personal achievement.

Then, on Good Friday April 14, 1865 Lincoln with his wife, Mary, went to Ford’s theater to see Laura Kelly play in ‘Our American Cousin’. James Wilkes Booth, a southern sympathizer and Negrophobe, was there for another reason. At about 10.15pm Booth entered the State Box and shot the president in the back of the head. The injury was inoperable and Lincoln died at 7.22am the following morning with his son Robert by his side. He was 56 years old – a victim of troubled times, deep divisions, hate and an assassin’s bullet. 

Abraham Lincoln’s chart progressed to April 14, 1865

Abraham Lincoln?s chart progressed to April 14, 1865

On April 14, 1865 progressed Sun in Lincoln’s chart (at 19 Aries 24) had moved to form a high-discord separation (opposition) aspect with progressed Mars (planet of guns and violence) in the eighth house (death). Aries rules the head. And Progressed Mercury (at 23 Pisces 01) – ruler of the first house (his physical body) and the fifth house (theaters) – had moved to form an agitation (sesquisquare) aspect with progressed Uranus (planet of extremists and unforeseen events) in the eighth house (death). 

US chart progressed to April 14, 1865

US chart progressed to April 14, 1865

In the US chart on April 14, 1865 progressed Mars (planet of hate, guns and violence at 18 Leo 13) had moved to form a high discord separation (opposition) aspect with birthchart Moon in the tenth house (the President); and progressed Venus (at 22 Libra 08) had moved to form a prominence (conjunction) aspect with progressed Saturn (planet of loss and grief) and cusp ruler of the eighth house (death).

Lincoln was the first President to be assassinated and there was a massive show of public grief and support as the nation mourned (Saturn) its leader. The funeral train took 12 days to get to Springfield, Illinois – a 1600 mile return trip to the place where it all began. He was buried in the Lincoln Tomb in Oak Ridge Cemetery on May 4 1865. 

After shooting the president John Wilkes Booth leaped onto the stage at Ford’s theater and shouted ‘Sic simper tyrannis’ – (thus always to tyrants) – and despite suffering a broken leg he escaped from the theater. A twelve day manhunt ensued and on April 27 he was cornered in a Virginia barn house and shot by troops. He died of his wounds. 

After the defeat of the Southern Confederacy the nation was reunited under the federal government and on December 18, 1865 the 13th Amendment to the US constitution abolished slavery.

Lincoln’s legacy – one united nation and liberty for all 

Emancipation ProclamationAbraham Lincoln was a victim of circumstance and personal circumstance always presents a problem – ‘I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me’ he wrote in 1864. Some presidents preside over good times – peace, prosperity and stability. Others experience crisis, mishap, misadventure, economic difficulties and war. Occasionally social injustice is the important issue. And what happens, whether the problem gets better, or worse, or stays the same, is very much determined by the President. 

Abraham Lincoln was a great humanitarian who united a house divided. He was thoughtful, intelligent and shrewd – an independent thinker – who saw cultural faults that he could change. He took his orders from his astrological script and obeyed the commands coming from ‘the better angels in his soul’. He was humane, sensitive, compassionate and gentle yet circumstance called him to pilot his nation through the destruction and agony of a civil war. In the struggle he showed masterful firmness. Uncomplicated – he’s idolized for his integrity – the politician’s politician. The experts say he was second to none – the greatest of all the US Presidents – a towering figure on the world stage. His astrology supports the claim, yet the truth is he succeeded and achieved what he did because he lived up to his highest potential.

Lincoln is much admired and quoted and over the years a number of Presidents have tried to emulate him. He’s President Obama’s hero. But each president has a unique character and the events and conditions they attract, and their responses, are a matter of character. This character, which has nothing to do with genes and chemicals, is precisely detailed by the astrology code displayed in the birthchart and when conditioning and environment are added to the equation an authentic character-profile emerges. 

The circumstances Lincoln’s character confronted – disunity and slavery – were part of his life’s journey, but the Civil War was his response. The unification of the country and the emancipation of the slaves could only be achieved through a political process and the desire energies stored within the thought-cells and thought-structures of his unconscious soul-mind were so powerful, he did it. In the end whatever a President achieves – be it excellence, mediocrity or failure – it’s all a matter of character. The 16th president can be quoted, praised and emulated, but there will never be another Abraham Lincoln.

Lincoln’s determined and skillful leadership won the war so without him the United States as you know it might not exist. The Union victory resolved two long term problems that had festered unresolved since the Revolution of 1776 and the Constitution of 1789. They were the republic’s capacity to endure and whether slavery would remain a monstrous injustice mocking a nation ‘conceived in liberty’. Thanks to Lincoln the republic prevailed and slavery perished. He will be remembered for his Emancipation proclamation and holding the Union together. His humanitarianism (Aquarius) comes first.

An astrological tribute

Abraham Lincoln’s birthchart displayed a dazzling astrological script. It detailed altruism, a yearning for universal brotherhood, equality, sympathy, benevolence, mercy, forgiveness – ‘with malice toward none, with charity for all’ – intelligence, spectacular political talent, the moderate exercise of power, love, affection, loss, suffering and determination. His character – the secret of his success – was jammed packed with humanitarian ideals, good old fashioned friendship and other Aquarian qualities. It displayed an unorthodox spirituality (Pluto) and he never united himself to a church or expressed an interest in orthodox religion (Jupiter). His dynamic personality embraced an altruistic style of leadership (Sun in Aquarius), story telling and intelligence (Mercury), honesty and benevolence (Jupiter) authentic spirituality (Pluto) and love and affection (Venus). It allowed him to recognize injustice, accept the challenge, emancipate the slaves, preserve the Union and fulfill his soul’s glorious destiny. At the time of his death his friend and associate John C Nicolay paid tribute: 

‘History must accord him a rare sagacity in guiding a great people through the perils of a mighty revolution (Uranus), and admirable singleness of aim, a skillful discernment (Mercury), and courageous seizure of the golden moment (Sun trine Mars) to free his nation from the incubus of slavery (Neptune)...conscientious moderation in the use of power (Sun), a shining example of honesty (Jupiter) and purity, and finally the possession of that subtle and indefinable magnetism (Uranus) by which he subordinated and directed dangerously disturbed and perverted moral and political forces (Pluto) to the restoration of peace and constitutional authority to his country, and the gift of liberty (Uranus) to four million human beings.’ In other words – he was simply the best. 


In their 1997 publication Rating the Presidents William J Ridings Jr. and Stuart B McIver approached seven hundred and nineteen professors, elected officials, historians, attorneys and authors to participate in a poll to rate the US presidents. The rating categories included leadership qualities, political skill, character, integrity and accomplishments. Abraham Lincoln was no lower than first, second or third in any of the categories and his overall ranking among all American presidents was first. Franklin D Roosevelt was second and George Washington came in third. 

In 2000 Congress established the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission to commemorate his 200th birthday. The 15 member commission, that features an advisory board of over 130 various Lincoln historians and enthusiasts, is dedicated to renewing American appreciation of Lincoln’s legacy. The ALBA is the organizing force behind numerous tributes and cultural events highlighting a two-year celebration of Lincoln’s birth. The party began on February 12, 2009 at Hodgenville, Kentucky. And on April 15, 2015 America will mark the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination with a series of anniversary events. And this astrological commentary pays tribute and celebrates the life of a truly great human soul.

A note on the chart data

Two birthcharts are featured in this commentary. They’re both rectified, but this doesn’t mean they’re speculative, unreliable or wrong. It just means that the birth time is based on circumstantial evidence – not a documented source. 

Abraham Lincoln was born February 12, 1809 near Hodgenville, Kentucky. In Horoscopes of US Presidents Doris Chase Doane presents a chart timed for 2.10am LMT. This chart was first presented in Brotherhood of Light Course 10-1 – Delineating the Horoscope – by CC Zain where the author states: ‘Time not recorded – rectified to 2.10am.’ The rectified time is not sourced, but in an article entitled ‘Two Great Emancipators Born on the Same Day – Progressed Aspects for Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln’ Elbert Benjamine explains. ‘We know not the hour either was born, but astrologers who have worked hard at the task have come to believe, from the nature of the events in his life, that Lincoln was born at 2.10am.’ But the time and chart are incorrect.

The facts speak for themselves. To be correct all the outstanding events in Lincoln’s life must be supported by research based astrological evidence and this means at the time of his assassination there must be a progressed aspect to the ruler of the eighth house (death). In this chart the Moon is cusp ruler of the eighth and there is no progressed aspect involving the Moon at the time of his death. This invalidates the chart, but there are glaring irregularities. Lincoln was a lawyer and there is no planet in the ninth house (law and legal matters) and his life experience involved death – the deaths of loved ones and the deaths of 620,000 combatants in the civil war – yet there is no planet in the eighth house. The chart is incorrect and this makes all references to it invalid. 

Lincoln did not have his personality polarized in the first decanate of Sagittarius – see page 53 of Delineating the Horoscope by CC Zain – and other references to the chart on pages 75, 76 and 78 are dubious. The assessment on page 78 reveals how difficult it was to pick the dominant planet using an uncertain rule. Mercury dominates the chart – not Neptune. But since then the astrodynes that measure power, harmony and discord have revolutionized the assessment procedure presented in this book.

But there’s an eyewitness to Lincoln’s birth who provides a birth time – that vital astrological information. In Horoscopes of US Presidents Doris Chase Doane quotes Howard Hammett Jr. who in turn refers to the book Women Lincoln Loved by William E. Barton published in 1927. On page 15 the author quotes an eyewitness to Lincoln’s birth – ‘the baby was born just about sun-up.’ This occurred at 6.57.50am LMT (Sun conjunction ascendant) and when the prenatal epoch was applied the birth time was found to be 6.56am – one minute 50 seconds earlier. 

This chart has 22 Aquarius 49 on the ascendant and the first thing that grabs your attention is the loaded first house – there are 5 planets located there, and then you notice Mars, the planet of violence, in the eighth house (death) and the Saturn-Neptune conjunction in the first decanate of Sagittarius in the ninth house (law, speeches and Constitution). It’s an impressive astrological script and my colleague, David S Braumann, has matched the significant events in Lincoln’s life with the chart’s major progressions. A critical point in the chart is Gemini on the fifth house cusp. If Lincoln was born one and a half minutes later Cancer would be there, but research has confirmed that the births (and deaths) of Lincoln’s children all occurred when Mercury was turned on by progression and in some instances there was no progressed aspect involving the Moon.

The data and source of this Lincoln chart are: February 12, 1809, near Hodgenville, southeast Hardin Country, Kentucky (85W44: 37N32) – time as stated by William E Barton in his biography Women Lincoln Loved – ‘the baby (Lincoln) was born just about sun-up’ – 6.57.50am – rectified to 6.56am applying the prenatal epoch by DW Sutton.

The second chart belongs to the United States of America – born July 4, 1776 at Philadelphia, Pa (39N57: 75W09). The precise hour and minute of birth was not recorded but the chart used in this commentary is timed for 2.14.15 am. It has 7 Gemini 35 on the ascendant and the source of this data is Dr James D Keifer – who in 1908 quoted ‘an acquaintance who was a descendant of a signer of the Declaration of Independence’.

This chart has been successfully used by astrologers, notably Elbert Benjamine, to predict and chart America’s future. But in the chart (first published by CC Zain in the original edition of Mundane Astrology – Hermetic System – in 1928) there are inaccuracies that resulted in the mismatching of some events with their astrological markers. Since then the chart has been precisely calculated and on-going research continues to verify and match major events with the chart’s major progressions as they occur.

In writing this commentary many internet websites provided dates and historical information that ensured an accurate astrological account of the two issues that defined Lincoln’s life and Presidency – slavery and the Civil War. And the astrological comments and judgments are all based on the rules and principles of The Hermetic System of Astrology.  

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