This piece is the second in a series looking at the astrology of Ulysses Grant, head of The Union Army during the US Civil War and later President of the United States. The first installment looked at the major planetary configurations in Grant's chart. This piece will look deeper into the astrology of asteroids and their eerie, almost foreordained, ability to chart Grant's life.
Asteroids started being discovered in earnest from the 1950s onward. By now there are literally thousands upon thousands of asteroids named. Demetra George, the pioneer of asteroid astrology, describes a technique of picking names of individuals and/or places prominent in a person’s life and then looking up the corresponding asteroid(s). Given how many asteroids there are there’s basically an asteroid for everything at this point. Sometimes names have to be changed just slightly or gender associations switched.
I choose a number of words based on major persons in Grant’s life, as well as major battles. As Prof. George says in her lecture on asteroids, the results can be rather eerie and uncanny in nature.
The asteroid Victoria (named after goddess of Victory, Nike) is at 22 degrees of Aries in Grant’s 12th House. That is exactly sextile to his North Node—detailed in the prior piece, at 22 degrees of Aquarius. Sextile relationships (60 degrees) are ones of positive interaction. He had victory built into his highest destiny line (aka North Node). The asteroid Victory is in the sign of Aries, ruled by god of war Mars, so the victory is going to be victory in battle.
Speaking of 22 degrees, the asteroid Donaldson is at 22 degrees of Leo, sign of the courageous leader. The asteroid is directly conjunct his South Node, Mars configuration, covered in extraordinary detail in the previous piece. Grant’s first major victories were at Forts Henry and Donelson (Donelson = Donaldson). Asteroid Henry is at 21 degrees (1 degree off the 22 degrees), conjunct his Ascendant at 18 degrees in his first house of Taurus. The Ascendant symbolizes one’s persona or external interface with the world—Grant’s public image (Ascendant) came into public awareness with the victory at Ft. Henry.
The asteroid Julia, the name of Grant’s wife, is at 25 degrees of Aries (12th House)—very close to his 0 degrees Saturn. Julia was a real partner to Grant, though they experienced many periods of being isolated from one another (12th house) due to his military career.
The asteroid Vika (for Vicksburg) is at 25 degrees of Pisces, 11th house. It’s conjunct his exalted Venus at 22 degrees Pisces (note again the power of the 22nd degree in Grant’s chart across numerous signs). At 22 degrees of Pisces is the asteroid Lincoln, that is Abraham Lincoln. They are only 4 minutes apart in fact (Lincoln = 22 degrees, 45 minutes/ Venus = 22 degrees, 49 minutes).
The 11th house is the house of friendship and alliance . Venus in a house of friendship is a warm, close friendship, a “bromance” even if you will. The alliance/partnership between Lincoln and Grant was the key to Union victory.
Speaking of The Union, the asteroid Union is at 4 degrees of Aries (war god Mars ruled) sandwiched between Pluto (death and rebirth at 0 degree Aries) and Chiron at 7 degrees Aries. Chiron being the wounded healer—or in this case the one who excised the cancerous growth of slavery and rebellion (to maintain the Union). Healing through painful measures.
Or in Grant’s much more eloquent prose:
“Then, indeed, I gave up all idea of saving the Union except by complete conquest.”
Pluto, Union, and Chiron in Mars-ruled Aries.
Speaking of Grant’s eloquent prose, his namesake asteroid Ulysses is in the 3rd house, the house of communication.
Grant wrote those words about realizing that only through complete conquest could the won be won (and the Union saved) after the utterly horrifying and gruesome Battle of Shiloh.
Shiloh, in a tragically ironic way, actually means Peace or Place of Rest.
The asteroid Restititum (as in both Rest and Restitution—Restitution for the sins of slavery we might say) is at 15 degrees of Taurus in his first house, at the midpoint between his Jupiter (11 degrees) and his ascendant (18 degrees Taurus).
As mentioned The Battle of Shiloh was a major turning point in Grant’s career and the Civil War overall. Grant actually made an initial error by failing to build entrenchments or fortifications when his army was camped at Pittsburgh Landing. The Confederates under Gen. Sydney Albert Johnston, led a surprise attack, which very nearly turned into complete rout for the Union side.
The asteroids Shiloh is at 19 degrees of Sagittarius, in the 8th house (the house of death). Shiloh was one of the bloodiest battles in the Civil War. More men died at Shiloh that had fought on the American side in both The US Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 combined!
Shiloh is in opposition in the chart to the asteroid Pittsburghia (i.e. Pittsburgh Landing), which is at 23 degrees of Gemini in the 2nd house. The 2nd house is the house of one’s own resources—in this case the position the Union held at Pittsburgh Landing. After the first day of brutal fighting and near Union collapse, Grant managed to hold the lines (along with Gen. Sherman—more on him in a moment). That night reinforcements from Gen. Don Carlos Buell arrived and were able to be ferried over as the Union Navy controlled the waters by the landing. The next day the Union army under Grant was able to push the Confederate army back and force them to retreat, thus winning a most bloody victory.
Given that Shiloh was almost disastrous for Grant, it is worth noting that Pittsburghia trines his North Node—North Node at 22 degrees of Aquarius (10th house of career) and asteroid Pittsburghia at 23 degrees of 2nd house Gemini. The Confederate surprise attack was delayed due to rain. In one of the great “What Ifs” of the war, if it had not been for the rain slowing down their march Shiloh probably would have been a complete loss for the Union and could have turned the tide of the entire war towards the Confederacy.
As mentioned in the previous piece, Grant’s mid-heaven (MC), a power point in his chart is just reaching over from the 29th degree of Capricorn in his 9th house towards the 10th house of career. The 9th house is the house of philosophy and worldview and Capricorn is the sign of administration and logistics. Grant strategically (9th house) won the war through greater administrative capacity and logistical coordination (Capricorn).
His main and most feared opponent was of course Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The asteroid Robert is at 2 degrees of Aquarius, in the 10th house of career for Grant—just a few degrees separated from his MC, though across sign boundary (MC = Capricorn, Asteroid Robert = Aquarius). The across sign boundary indicates the closeness of the two men and yet the divide that separated them.
Lee was the scion of the famous Virginia Lee family. Ancestors include Harry Lighthorse Lee, Lee delegate to the Constitutional Convention and the man who put forth the motion to declare independence. Lee was considered the best and brightest and was top of his class at West Point. Grant was in the bottom half of his class, had been kicked out of the Army due to struggles with alcohol and was the son of a tanner. The other obvious implication of the sign boundary is the boundary between fighting for the North versus the South.
The asteroid Robertbrownlee (as in Robert Lee) is at 26 degrees of Taurus in Grant’s first house (the house of Saturn, Jupiter, and his Sun). Grant’s claim to fame would forever be linked both in his identity (1st house) and career (10th house) to Robert E. Lee. Great would, after the war, intervene to prevent Lee from being executed as a traitor, due to the terms Grant offered for surrender at Appamatox Courthouse.
Conjunct the asteroid Robertlee and nearby his Ascendant is the asteroid Sherman, as in William Tecumseh Sherman. It was the combined forces of Grant (Ascendant 18 degrees Taurus) and Sherman (25 degrees) that were eventually able to defeat Lee.
Asteroid Sherman and Asteroid Vika (for Vicksburg) are exact by degree through sextile (25 Pisces Vika, 25 Taurus Sherman). Vika is in the 11th house of friendship and alliance. Sherman, at the beginning of the war, had had a nervous breakdown during which Grant supported him. Grant, had his own dark moments as noted, and Sherman supported him through his struggles with alcohol. Throughout the war and after they formed a tight friendship and alliance. Sherman at 25 Taurus is a softer but still close (3 degrees) sextile to asteroid Lincoln at 22 Pisces.
The Confederate forces surrendered Vicksburg on July 4, 1863. Vicksburg split the Confederacy in two parts, as The North now controlled the entire Mississippi River and could blockade the western half of the Confederacy (Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana) from the Eastern half.
Simultaneously to the ending of the siege of Vicksburg was The Battle of Gettysburg which happened on the exact same weekend—notably on the anniversary of the US Declaration of Independence. The Union Army at Gettsyburg was lead by Gen. George Meade—who assumed command only a few days prior to the battle. The asteroid Meadows is at 22 degrees of Sagittarius in Grant’s chart. A mead is another name for a meadow. 22 degrees of Sagittarius is exactly sextile Grant’s North Node (22 degrees Aquarius) and exactly trine the asteroid Victoria at 22 degrees Aries. Those two battles on the same weekend—Vicksburg and Gettysburg—turned the tide of the war in the direction of The Union.
Asteroid Meadows is also in a close square (3 degrees separation) with the asteroid Vika (for Vicksburg). Grant initially was overshadowed (square) by the news of the victory in Gettysburg over his victory, the same weekend at Vicksburg.
Lastly the asteroid Libera (Liberator) is at the aforementioned 22 degrees of Pisces, directly conjunct asteroid Lincoln, and Grant’s exalted Venus in his 11th house of friendship and alliance. Upon the victories of Vicksburg and Gettysburg, Lincoln declared the Emancipation (Liberation) Proclamation. Grant profoundly supported Reconstruction, the abolition of slavery and the passage of the 13th-15th Amendments (the 15th Amendment was ratified during Grant’s presidency). Asteroid Slavi (Slave) is at 26 Leo, right next to the South Node-Mars configuration that is so prominent in Grant’s chart.
While the planets (covered in Pt1) give the broader narrative of Grant's life, the asteroids provide uncanny precision with specific major events and relationships in Grant's life. In the third and final part I'm going to investigate some astrological timing techniques, exploring in particular the wild swings and meteoric rise of Grant's life.