Astrological Musings

Astrological Musings

Ronald Reagan’s Astrologers

This treatise I’m working on charting the rise of the conservative Christian Right is a much bigger undertaking than I had imagined. Every road I take leads to three more, a fascinating journey. So I’ll post the second of three chapters tomorrow.

Meanwhile, since Ronald Reagan played a hugely instrumental role in the ascension of the Right in the US, I thought I’d offer a glimpse into his astrological world. Ronald and Nancy used the services of astrologers as early as the 1950s and 1960s, consulting Hollywood astrologer Carroll Richter and later Jeane Dixon (Jeane also served the Nixon White House). In 1974, then-Governor Reagan signed a law excluding astrologers from the category of illegal fortune tellers.


Nancy Reagan first sought out the services of Joan Quigley, an astrologer who was well known in celebrity circles, during the run up to the election between Reagan and Carter, Joan was responsible for timing the debates so that they were beneficial to Reagan. The debates are largely credited for Reagan’s win, so who knows what role the stars actually played. It sounds to me from my reading of the situation that Joan chose days that would be challenging for Carter (although frankly, Jimmy Carter was undergoing some difficult challenges leading up to the election – a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn preparing to conjunct his Sun, Neptune square his Mercury). (It’s odd to me that Reagan, a non-churchgoing astrology-using candidate was supported by the religous right over Carter, an avowed Baptist.) Another astrologer, Joyce Jillson, helped select George Bush as Reagan’s running mate.


After Reagan was shot by John Hinckley in 1981, a panicked Nancy Reagan was told by Merv Griffin that Joan would have been able to predict the assassination attempt. Nancy then began to rely on the assistance of Joan to keep her husband safe. Joan timed every event down to the second – the signing of treaties, Supreme Court nominations, every meeting and flight. She later participated in the renovation of the images of both the President and Nancy which arguably resulted in Reagan’s success in toppling the Soviet Union and his subsequent canonization by the conservative movement.

Once it became publicized that the Reagans sought the advice of an astrologer, Nancy Reagan dropped Joan Quigley liked a hot potato. Joan’s business took off under her new celebrity status, however. She later predicted that astrology would explode across the internet, but was unable to secure financing for her own site.

  • Laura Elizabeth

    “It’s odd to me that Reagan, a non-churchgoing astrology-using candidate was supported by the religous right over Carter, an avowed Baptist.”

    I don’t think anyone knew about that prior to the election. I remember it coming out, kinda as a joke, after the beginning of the first term. I don’t think anyone took it seriously at that time. Had they, I doubt the religious right would have come out to vote for him.

    My Father’s family could be described as fundamentalist Christians. He’s pretty much an agnostic, mostly because his parents were so religious: no drinking, no smoking, no theatre, no dancing, church services all day on Sunday’s – extremely Puritanical. He talks about the religious revivals he and his siblings were forced to attend, especially in the summers. He was born in 1939 – his parents were married in 1934 – and his family’s lifestyle was common during the Depression; think of Billy Sunday…ki/
    Billy_Sunday . My Dad’s own Grandfather, my great-Grandfather, was a hellfire and brimstone circuit riding preacher up until his retirement in the late 1960’s.

    Also, there was the Welsh Revival
    190…5_Welsh_Revival and the tent revivals in California in 1906…net/
    history.htm which may have sparked off the whole move towards a very conservative Christianity in the US.

    Then there’s Darwin. Darwinism had huge psychologial repercussions, in the Bible-belt especially, and the answer to the fear the new thought processes provoked was to become ever closer to the Bible and God. I don’t know how far back your research is going to take you, but I think we can trace the roots of the current radical religious right back to before the beginning of the 20th century.

    Obviously, this is fascinating stuff for me Can’t wait until tomorrow

  • phel jones

    Lynn thanks for doing a series on this. I think that it’s fascinating that they used astrological timing and…weather forecasting. Reagan could really be described as one of our first true Libertarian presidents. That said, it’s also interesting that while many folks will lump astrology into the category of allowing some other forces to run your life – that Reagan used it in a way that is “opposite” of that generalization. One that allowed him to use his free will in a more directed and concentrated manner. Looking forward to tomorrow too

  • Deborah Kittner


    Thank you for your continuous research, insight, and analysis the science and art of astrology. Great educational support!

    Deb in KY, US

  • Lynn

    Laura Elizabeth – thank you for the history lesson and those great links, particularly about the revivals. As always, Phel, and Deb too, thanks so much for taking the time to comment

  • Nick

    My understanding is that Nancy, even before Ronald was shot, was extremely protective of him because of the supposed curse of the 20 year presidents, and used astrologers to avoid time and places where he might be in the most danger

  • Lynn

    I believe but I could be wrong that she heard of the 20-year curse after the shooting. The 20-year curse is a whole other article – some astrologers have compared that cycle to the Saturn/Jupiter cycle which I find very interesting and want to explore more

  • Laura Elizabeth

    We seemed to have skipped the 20 year curse this time around.

    Spotted this at the New York Times online: “The Most Famous Man in America” by Debby Applegate…r=1&

    and thought you and others might be interested – this ^ is the first chapter of her book

  • daimones

    Both Ronnie and Nancy had a long history with astrology dating back at least to the early 60s when the took classes from celebrity astrologer Carrol Righter in Hollywood. Nancy’s good buddy Merv has always been into astrology (big time!) as well. He also famously adjusted the time of his swearing-in ceremony when he became gov of California — and many suspect that he fiddled with the time at his presidential inauguration (starting the ceremonies not quite at noon, as is customary). In addition to Righter, Joyce Jillson and Quigly, he also consulted with Jeane Dixon. And maybe some others we will never hear about.

    It is fascinating (and disturbing) that there are so many number of extremely right-wing / conservative astrologers / astrology afficianados out there — along with some very frightening, proto-facist view points (and prominant in the astro-orgs)

  • Lynn

    Funny though, isn’t it, that most of the astrologers writing today are at least moderately liberal. I have to think that this is because in order to study astrology you have to have a pretty open mind

  • daimones

    Don’t be so sure! Most of the financial astrologers I have met are extremely conservative (including Ray Merriman). Arch Crawford is another stellar example. And then there is Maria Kay Simms, the former Chair of the NCGR — also a firm republican.

    However, I do agree that most “independent” astrologers (and readers of astrology writers) are likely to be more liberal… and the more conservative ones know this and tend to be well . . . diplomatic regarding their own political beliefs. But it is interesting how many of them become prominant.

    My theory is that there is a certain mindset which regards “knowledge as power” (ie, the Reagans) and astrology can seduce one into believing that it is possible to get the upper hand in life. And if your interest is power over others (or simply greed), then that is what you will try to use it for

  • Lynn

    Good point about the financial astrologers Daimones, I suppose because of the money connection although certainly you can be interested in money (as I am) and still be progressive

  • daimones

    I agree. Money, from a progressive standpoint, is more often seen as a form of energy (or at least a symbol of how it moves) as well as a symbol of exchange. But a progressive person will likely attach a different value to money than a conservative will (who may be more prone to seeing it as a thing in itself with its own inherent value). Same with astrology. Is it a “thing” or a “means?

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