Beliefnet
Astrological Musings

by Lynn Hayes

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There are a lot of different astrological charts for the United States floating around out there, but the one most commonly used, and the one I prefer, is called the Sibley chart which has Sagittarius rising.  The rising sign, also called the Ascendant because it was ascending at the birth moment, marks the identity and personality of the entity.
Sagittarius is the sign of expansion, optimism, and let’s face it, self-righteousness.  Sagittarius can have a tendency to believe that it knows what’s best for everyone, because after all, Sag is the Searcher of Truth.  That doesn’t negate the beautiful qualities of Sagittarius to inspire and elevate, but there can be a bit of arrogance around a person who thinks they know what’s what.
The self-righteous component of this influence has inspired the expansion of the nation across the continent in the name of the “Manifest Destiny,” regardless of the death and destruction that was wrought in its wake.  The American Dream started out as a right for every man, woman and child to pursue their dream of liberty and happiness, but has evolved into the desire for every citizen to own several high definition television sets, enough cars to fit in their 3-car garage, a vacation home, and a mansion.
This is all being altered by a transit of Pluto to the Midheaven in the US chart.  The Midheaven represents the government of a country, but it also represents the nation’s role in the world.  This cycle began last year and the second phase of the cycle is coming up this summer.  
The progressed chart shows the evolving nature of an individual, and in a mundane chart it reveals the ways in which a nation community is changing.  The Ascendant (describing the persona) in the progressed chart is getting ready to move from Leo into Virgo.  The US Progressed Ascendant has been in Leo since January 1973.  January 1973 marked the end of the Vietnam War and the beginning of the Watergate trials, and during the following years the political and cultural landscape of the United States changed considerably.  
Leo is the sign of self-expression and the development of the indivdual ego – there is an inspirational quality with Leo but also a tendency towards egotism and a self-centered approach to the matters of life.  Before the US progressed Ascendant entered the sign of Leo it was in Cancer, where the national identity was all about national pride and tribal loyalty. 
When the US progressed Ascendant moves into Virgo in October of 2011 there is likely to be a greater shift towards service and humility.  The Pluto in Virgo generation has just begun taking positions of power in the government (Obama is one of those), and their number will continue to increase in the next few years.  Virgo is the sign of thrift and caution, and I suspect that we will see a big change in the American Dream at that time.
Perhaps we can forget about the bloated and selfish materialism that the American Dream has become and focus instead on Virgo virtues:  Intelligence, good health, care in our personal lives. thrift and savings, serving others and protecting animals and children.
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