“Direct rise from lowliness and obscurity to power and influence.” This quote from the I Ching – Chinese Book of Changes,1 aptly describes Winston Churchill’s life leading up to WWII and his rise to heroic accomplishment after his appointment as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
THE PROGRESSED PLUTO STATION
Churchill was at a very low point in his political career in early 1940 when he began using his skillful rhetoric to awaken the British populace concerning Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich and the Nazi threat across Europe. Churchill was 66 years old when Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, who advocated to appease Hitler, was forced to resign by both the Opposition as well as his own Conservative party. Churchill was subsequently catapulted into the position of Prime Minister in his stead. Churchill’s secondary progressions for the year 1940 show a significant dynamic2 aspect corresponding to critical change in store for both the native and the country for which he was the surrogate leader. As Churchill took power, his progressed Pluto was stationing to go direct. Astrologers often overlook the profound influence of a progressed station; however, they are indicators of life transitions which can disrupt the flow of a native’s habitual pattern of activity. In this case of the Prime Minister who led England to victory, we witness how his vital, progressed stationary Pluto corresponds to the long-lasting peace of future generations of not only his own country, but of the entire world.
Pluto’s keyword shifts from Transcendence to Probity when highly active in the nativity. When in its positive manifestation, the planet encourages a native’s total submission to higher principles revealed through enlightened intuition and empowers leaders with wisdom when confronting formidable enemies. Churchill, himself, credited heavenly powers for the protection he received when mingling with civilians immediately after the bombings of London during the Blitz. The planet represents a universal force interacting within society through those who hold the reins of temporal powers. Pluto is the prime architect during times of great causes and their global consequences, in contrast with the swift-moving planets that have jurisdiction over more mundane and local considerations.
Swiftly coming into power and authority, or an abrupt and complete loss of it, often comes about during Pluto’s transits and progressions to the natal chart’s planets. These radical changes in a person’s life are mapped and mirrored by Pluto’s aspects whether in regard to interactions with the natal chart’s planets, or in a possible standalone progressed period. Marc Edmund Jones gives important details of progressed stations in his Scope of Astrological Prediction:
Planetary Stations are established when a planet in secondary progression appears* to come to a rest in the zodiac and begins to move retrograde instead of direct or vice versa. If the change is to retrograde the indication is more personal or intimate and if to direct it is more impersonal.
The phenomenon in progressions always identifies a subtle or psychological shift in the fundamental course of life** such as requires a critical regrasp of experience and often proves to be an adjustment over an appreciable span of time whether marked by some single sharp event of easy identification or by a complex syndrome of changes of less obvious interrelation.
Pluto in 1940 plays a role in both transits and progressions as they correspond to the dramatic show of the rise of the politician with a passion to defend his country and obliterate the Third Reich. On May 10, 1940, Winston Churchill took the reins of government and ultimately led his people to victory. On the very same day that he stepped into the job, the Germans were at the door of Holland, yet another country incapable of defending itself from formidable Nazi aggression. Although Churchill had a history of failures as well as successes, he was appointed to do the mammoth task that was carved out for him by fate. Not only was progressed Pluto stationary at the time he took the helm, but throughout the war years from 1943 to 1945 transit Pluto was aligning itself in opposition to his natal Saturn. An activated Saturn obliges a person to assume personal and grave responsibilities. This gave the native an opportunity to make use of his acquired wisdom and to be Shrewd (Saturn’s keyword when in High Focus) when faced with a powerful adversary. Saturn acts in disjunctive fashion as it drops all superfluous pursuits to focus solely on immediate objectives.
In Churchill’s book, Painting as a Pastime, he tells us that he was prey to the “worry and mental over-strain experienced by persons who, over prolonged periods, have to bear exceptional responsibilities and discharge duties upon a very large scale.” This revealing statement combines the long-term broad outreach of Pluto aspects with the personal and inescapable responsibilities brought on by Saturn’s involvement. Both planets draw leadership qualities to the forefront. With an inadequate response to the planets’ “demands,” there can be a real crisis in consciousness. Fortunately for the world, Churchill was equal to the task.
The transit chart for 6:00 pm May 10, 1940, shows the real-time, orbiting planet placements as they interact with Churchill’s natal chart. The planetary contacts are few but powerful and correspond to the request from King George VI3 for Churchill to take on the role of Prime Minister. Transit Jupiter also brings forth leadership qualities to the situation as the fortuitous planet makes an exact conjunction with Churchill’s natal Neptune at the time. The Jupiter aspect refers to the authority the new Prime Minister enthusiastically assumed within the strain of compelling obligation. Transit Uranus is also present through its exact conjunction with natal Pluto, revealing the impetus toward Churchill’s sudden catapult to power, virtually giving him untrammeled control. Lastly, the transiting Moon at the Midheaven, the place of authority, sextiles his own natal Moon to complete the symbolic layout of influential aspects mirroring the extraordinary, corresponding event of taking charge.
THE MARS SABIAN SYMBOL
Although not configured in any significant way is natal Mars. However, the Sabian symbol for the planet of Initiative is quite telling of a period in Churchill’s life that gives background to his accomplishments during WWI. He was First Lord of the Admiralty from 1911 to 1915 which his Mars Sabian symbol rounded to 17 degrees Libra expresses literally:
LIBRA 17 A retired sea captain This is a symbol of what ultimately must be an entirely personal enjoyment of reality, or an indomitable sustainment of man’s world in the precise terms of his own special participation in its varying aspects. There is here a completeness of self-consummation through a gift for bringing all prior factors of realization to focus in the present moment. The self is secure because it has made its peace with every separate potentiality of its being. The keyword is RELAXATION. When positive, the degree is an utter fidelity to the lessons learned from experience and a consequent unshakeable poise in embarking on any new enterprise, and when negative, idle contemplation of past achievement.4
THE ALL-IMPORTANT SUN
If the birthtime is accurate, Churchill’s reputation as a great orator is shown in the 3rd house placement of his natal Sun. The 3rd house brings words and communication to the forefront and the Sun itself lays bare the purpose of one’s incarnation and the role one must play on the stage of life. The Sabian symbol for 8 degrees Sagittarius is Rocks and things forming within. COMPOSITION is the keyword, and when positive, the degree is “exceptional ability to mold or remold the course of events.” That he did, while taking part in the navigation of the Allies through the war years. The negative of the degree, “persisting inner confusion,” gives supporting evidence of the debilitating stress of a weakly configured Grand Cross, caused by Saturn and Pluto over the general orb allowance by two degrees. A Grand Cross, also known as a Grand Square, can lead to a diffusion of the native’s energies when attempting to reach out to too many directions at once. The four prongs of the Cross tend to vie for attention, making it difficult to focus on one important astrological, house Circumstance. Lacking the singular focus that a T Cross Focal Determinator facilitates, the Grand Cross instead, can cause one to lose their foothold in events when considering too many factors at once. However, thanks to Uranus in Churchill’s case, it acts as the in-orb Point Focus of a T Cross enabling him to carry his objectives to a positive conclusion rather than to live under the nightmare of fascist control. With all his Uranian ingenuity, he independently, and almost single-handedly led Britain and the Allies to a victorious conclusion.
The important progressed Sun in Churchill’s chart was also noticeably active on May 10, 1940, as it was applying to an opposition to Point Focus Uranus. At the very moment of his appointment as Prime Minister, Uranus was advantageously activated by the dynamic Sun with its task of fueling energy and light to the genius which ultimately brought peace to a war-weary world.
- I Ching, Translation by Richard Wilhelm Bollingen Series, Princeton University Press. Hexagram 46, Pushing Upwards.
- Dynamic aspects refer to transits and progressions. They are the planets that move into relationship with the static natal planets to activate the potentials of the horoscope.
- “The matter was effectively decided by the afternoon of the 9th May. However, it depended upon the Labour Party formally agreeing that they would serve under Churchill in a c
- oalition government of national unity. Despite the events of the early hours of the morning in Europe, on the 10th May the most senior figures in the Labour Party took the 11.34 am train from Waterloo station out of London. They traveled to Bournemouth on the south coast, where they were about to begin their Party Conference. They stuck rigidly to their procedural rules. It was not until 5 pm that the Labour Leader telegrammed London to say that they would serve under Churchill. Chamberlain immediately went to too see the King and ‘offered’ his resignation. The King then called for Churchill and ‘invited’ him to become Prime Minister. He did not formally assume the role until 6 pm.”
- Sabian Symbols in Astrology, by Marc Edmund Jones. Sabian Publishing Society, Stanwood Washington. 1969