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The Wormley AgreementHayes PresidentImage

In mundane astrology (the astrology of historical events) we typically look at what’s happening astrologically during the big, documented events, like an election. But sometime the really important decisions are not made during these “big” events. Sometimes these are decisions made in backrooms away from the public eye. A good example of this is the U.S. presidential election of 1876

Those of us who lived through the drama of the 2000 U.S. presidential election and then the truly scary moments of the 2020 election might think that we know all about the crazy twists and turns that American democracy can take. However, we don’t the half of it because, as divisive as those two elections might have seemed, they were calm affairs compared to what happened in 1876.

In 1876 the United States was still recovering from the trauma of the Civil War. It was also was only the seconc national election held after the Amnesty Act of 1872, which returned to ex-confederate soldiers the right to vote. The support of these confederate veterans allowed the Democratic candidate, Samuel Tilden, to win the popular vote. However, he was still short of having a majority in the Electoral College. That vote count would remain in doubt for several months.

A horoscope for Election Day in 1876 explains the confusion. (Click here to see the chart.) Neptune is placed within just a few degrees of the Descendant and it is the focal point of aspects from the Moon, Uranus, Venus, Mercury and Saturn. The T-square with Neptune, Mercury and the Moon explains it all. The people had spoken and the message they had delivered was a Neptunian muddle.

Several issues complicated the vote count in 1876. Three southern states (Florida, South Carolina and Louisiana) were still under the control of the federal government. While the white voters who lived in those states likely voted for the Democrat, the officials counting and reporting the votes were largely Republicans. At the same time, white vigilantes in many southern towns were using intimidation and violence to keep black voters, who would have likely voted for the Republican, away from the polls.

With claims of corruption on both sides, a bi-partisan commission was formed to determine who won the election. However, this commission turned out to be just as divided as the rest of the country. During this period, presidents were inaugurated in early March and there was real concern that that day would come and we would still not know who would be taking the oath. Finally, on the evening of Feb. 26, 1877, a group of Democratic and Republican congressmen got together in the Wormley Hotel in Washington to make a deal.

A chart done for that meeting (click here to see the chart) is quite different from the Election Day horoscope. Once again Neptune is trine the Moon but here these two form a Grand Trine with the conjunction of Mars and Jupiter. Actions will be taken and questions will be resolved. We also have a T-square involving Uranus, Pluto and Venus. The square between Uranus and Pluto was the long-term aspect that defined this whole period and Venus represents compromise.

Along with these very powerful configurations we also have the Sun in Pisces conjunct Saturn which in a nearly exact conjunction with the North Node of the Moon. This compromise, this decision will have fateful implications that will reflect both lessons learned and lessons unlearned.

The deal that was made under this auspicious horoscope was essentially a trade-off. Democrats agreed to concede that the Republican candidate, Rutherford B. Hayes, won the election by virtue of a majority of electoral votes. In return Republicans agreed to withdraw federal troops with the southern states still occupied and give up on the process called Reconstruction. There were a lot of complaints about this deal when it was presented to Congress as a whole and many citizens refused to accept it, but on March 5, 1876, Hayes was inaugurated as President of the United States.

That was the good news. A constitutional crisis and a possible second civil war had been averted. The white politicians in Washington could celebrate. However, for the former slaves living in the south it was the worst kind of bad news. Free of federal interference, legislatures in these states passed laws that codified white supremacy. It was the beginning of the “Jim Crow” era for blacks in the south and the results of the Worley Agreement would cast a a dark shadow over the lives of African Americans for the next 100 years.

There is one final bit of irony about this agreement and it is quite in keeping with mischievous Uranus square the gallows humor of Pluto. The Wormley Hotel was a highly regarded establishment in Washington at the time and a favorite of congressmen and presidents. The fact that it would be the place in which this infamous deal was made is not surprising. What’s surprising, and painfully ironic, is the fact that the hotel was founded and owned by James Wormley, a black man and a former slave.