2022 is a big year for the USA; it is the year that Pluto will have made one full lap around the zodiac wheel to return to the point where it was located on July 4, 1776 when the early British-American colonies declared independence from England. I feel it necessary to discuss some important things about the use of this date in complete deference to all the Indigenous Peoples that existed on this land mass long before European settlers came along. The reason astrologers use this date as America’s “birth” in order to calculate a chart for the nation is fairly simple and isn’t meant to disregard at all the history and the peoples that were here since time immemorial. Indeed, every land on Earth is ancient and obviously came into existence eons before humans even existed; think of Pangea! So using July 4,, 1776 as the “birth” date of America is a bit of an overly simplistic misnomer; rather it would be more accurate to say that we merely use this date to calculate a similar chart. Did you know that businesses and relationships can have charts, too? What do we use to calculate these? What makes it “official” on paper?
For example, we might have the idea for a business and be working on it long before we file for our LLC and receive our tax ID. We were “gestating” it months or perhaps even years earlier; having a concrete date when it becomes a legally recognized entity in no way de-legitimizes the vision and all the work put in up until that very exciting moment. The technical stuff essentially just functions as a “scalpel” cutting the umbilical cord so the business becomes an entity in its own right; albeit just not a human one.
Or perhaps we look to the “birth” of a relationship; again, a misnomer. Maybe two individuals have known each other forever and were friends long before they ever dated, so it can’t be when they first met each other, right? So what “counts”? Is it when they went out on their first date together? Perhaps when they were first asked out/asked the other party out? Sometimes things aren’t clear-cut or there’s nothing “official” recorded to mark the “birth” and in such cases one must use their discernment. Most couples remember their first date and refer to that as their “anniversary”, so we could use this if we wanted to look at the ins and outs of that relationship from an astrological POV. But again, a couple could have met years prior or could have had romantic interest in each other for some time prior to going out with each other; using the pair’s first date merely allows us to have a concrete point in time to which we can refer and does not de-legitimize the history between them. This lack of date consensus is also why most astrologers might opt instead to draw up a Synastry or Composite chart rather than a “birth” type of chart.
Though America and its First Peoples existed for literally thousands of years prior to the British colonies declaring their independence from The Crown and revolting against King George III’s rule, the signing of the Declaration of Independence is something we can refer to that – for better or worse – is snapshot of a “scalpel” moment when these young colonies started to function as their own entity. Contextually, it is important to understand that First Nations Peoples were cultures that relied entirely upon oral histories; hence there were no earlier written dates of America’s “founding” to refer to, nor did Europeans exactly care to ask about such things whilst they were busy taking land and food from this nation’s original inhabitants. Even if they had, how would communication of this information have been possible given the language barrier? Forget the fact that First Nations Peoples would have no concept of or use for the Europeans’ Gregorian calendar! How could one possibly hope to find a more accurate “birth” date for a nation in such circumstances? Unfortunately, as is so often the case, the date we have for reference is sadly the one written by the “victors”.
In a heated sociopolitical climate, it is especially important that as astrologers we try to approach the use of this date with sensitivity and awareness; acknowledging its Eurocentric roots while also understanding the context that we simply don’t have other options that aren’t rooted in this same POV when it comes to calculating a chart for the USA; this is really all we have to work with. I’m not sure that it would be an improvement to use, say, the date in 1492 that an Italian conquista “explorer” got lost and bumped into a large landmass in the Atlantic Ocean by mistake because he was seeking a shortcut. Or the date the first wave of European settlers landed at Plymouth Rock, for example – both instances do not acknowledge that there were others living and governing their communities here long prior. But perhaps it would be of service to compare this situation to conception vs. the moment the umbilical cord is cut. Life starts long before a child exits its mother’s womb – 9 months prior, sperm met egg, cells multiplied, a heartbeat flickered into existence, and before long a growing human being was formed; nobody can deny the entire process was started well in advance of the child taking its first recorded breath. And perhaps if we could pinpoint conception and use that as the basis of a chart instead, this would be the more valid – and far more culturally sensitive – tool for the job.