The Role of the Least Aspected Planet in the Birth of Nations


Rob Couteau has been a regular contributor to Starcats for many years and remains a close personal friend. Couteau, who spent 12 years living, writing and painting in Paris, is back in the USA doing all these same good things in upstate New York. Excerpts from his book, The Role of the Least-aspected Planet in Astrocartography, have appeared in the Celtic Astrologer, Astro-Talk magazine (Matrix Software), Aspects magazine, and Astrology Panplanet. Recipient of awards such as the Astro-pro, The Canopus Award for Excellence, and the Golden Ratio, he has also received on-line praise from numerous readers and astrologers, including Linda Reid; Noel Tyl; and Donna Van Toen. Couteau's essays, fiction, interviews and reviews have appeared in publications such as The Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy; Bloomsbury Review; The European; Netsurf; and James Hillman's Jungian annual, Spring. His current research explores the statistically-high occurrence of least-aspected Saturn in the charts of American presidents and in the 'birth' of nations. The full text of Rob's book is available at: Couteau


Which planet may we expect to find "Transcendental" -- that is, under-aspected and for that reason potent, fecund and central in importance -- in the life of a nation? Perhaps not surprisingly -- given our other research into the lives of notable personalities whose lives embodied a grave, even over-burdening sense of responsibility towards the social collective and whose least-aspected planet was Saturn -- Saturn is found here in a surprisingly high number of cases, particularly where we have precisely recorded times (and even with some notable approximate 'birth'-times, such as for the arrival of Mohammed in Medina at sunset, marking the Arabian horoscope which has been used for centuries; or for the more recent "Sagittarius Rising" chart of the United States -- both of which are distinguished by under-aspected Saturns).

Besides the frequent appearance of Saturn as a least-; second-least; or third least-aspected planet, Jupiter -- the other planet indicating the social-collective and its symbolism -- is also all too often involved, it seems, in the formation of nation states. Why is this? If we conceive of the inner planets -- Sun, Moon and Mercury -- as indicating the fundamental personal level of the psyche; the interpersonal planets -- Venus and Mars -- as signifying the evolution of the personal fundament moving in an ontological, telic manner into the interpersonal realm; and the final realm of psychic or cosmic evolution -- the transpersonal or archetypal realm -- as signified by Pluto, Neptune and Uranus; that leaves Jupiter and Saturn, the planets which stand between the personal/interpersonal and the transpersonal: thus, the collective is formed.

As the planets of expansion and constriction, of collective soul (Jupiter) on the one hand, and collective spirit (Saturn) on the other, Saturn and Jupiter are perfectly placed here, at the birth of national states. The state, after all, has the function of constricting as much as it does of expanding: and it does both with the collective, primarily, in mind. It is perhaps for this reason, or in parallel with it, that many American presidents have had Saturn as a key Transcendental Planet: That is, their personality, their orientation and interpersonal structure was primarily in accord, in tune with, the essential placement of Saturn -- as a Tertiary Transcendental Planet -- in the chart of the United States.

We also find Saturn in the various charts for Germany: For the 1871 chart, Secondary Jupiter, Tertiary Saturn; and for the 1949 Bundesrepublik, Primary Jupiter, Tertiary Saturn. For the relatively short-lived 1918 German chart, we have the reverse: Leading (most-aspected) Saturn, and Secondary Leader, Jupiter. This goes completely along with my initial hypothesis, that over-aspected planets indicate areas where we may overreach, act with hubris, and even suffer a fall of some kind: they symbolize how and under what terms nemesis will tend to approach us. This Germany was noted for its economic deprivations (Leading Saturn) as well as its inflation (Secondary Leader, Jupiter) and rampant nationalism (Tertiary Leader, Sun).1 (Hitler's Secondary Leading Saturn and Tertiary Leading Sun mirrored the same tendencies in his life -- an over-compensating need for constricting psychological structures and for unbridled exhibitionism -- which fit neatly into the psychic national portrait of the time: thus the "Fuhrer" really did, it seems, embody the "Leading" -- though not necessarily healthy -- tendencies of the body politic of this German epoch.)

In the chart of Israel, a state which has always suffered from economic inflation (Secondary Leader, Jupiter) we have a rather amazing portrayal of the entire recent history of this nation: The seemingly unending "spiritual yearning" (the nature of the Transcendental Planet in general) for "a homeland"; for "peace / with security" (Secondary Transcendental Moon / Primary Transcendental Venus / Tertiary Transcendental Saturn). In its Leading or most-aspected planets, we have: "The obsession with war, secret intelligence and terrorism" (Leading Pluto); as well as what might be termed an obsession with "religious / and ethical matters" on a state level (Tertiary Leader, Neptune / Secondary Leader, Jupiter).

One of the most recent Jupiter-Saturn occurrences in our own times is found in the formation of the European Union: At the moment the Treaty of Rome was signed by the member states, Jupiter and Saturn were the equally under-aspected Secondary Transcendentals, each with only one major aspect and no minor aspects (=100). The Tertiary Transcendental here is Mercury: fittingly, as the EU is known as such a bureaucratically oriented organization, and, too, since Saturn-Mercury Transcendentals are often found during events in which contractual agreements are signed or formalized. One example: the formal surrender of the British forces to George Washington: For the chart drawn for this moment, Mercury is a "triple-zero" Transcendental -- hosting no major, minor, or Midheaven / Ascendant planetary contacts, and is followed by Saturn, the second-least aspected or Secondary Transcendental planet.2

Although it is my personal belief that, in general, only charts with accurately timed data are of true value, I have included many other charts as well, both in the spirit of inquiry as well as for the astrologically curious. The fact that certain charts have been studied at such great length and for such enormous periods of time -- such as the case with Arabia -- may justify in part this inclusion. However, I would urge readers to pay the greatest attention to those more reliable examples; I believe it is there that we have the most to learn, especially when exploring such unknown terrain as that of under-aspected planets and the symbolism that such planets mysteriously portray.


  1. The same could easily be said for the short-lived Italian 1871 chart, which hosts exactly the same over-aspected planets: Sun (Leader); Jupiter (Secondary Leader); and Saturn (Tertiary Leader).

  2. At the moment of Cornwallis's "formal / communique" (Secondary Saturn / Primary Mercury) of the surrender of the British forces to George Washington at Yorktown, Virginia, the Primary Transcendental Planet, Mercury, was positioned over London -- the capital and political center of the British Empire -- in its Transcendental Setting position. This decisive "Transcendental moment" marked the virtual end of hostilities between the Colonial forces and the British and signalled the inception of the actual independence of the American Colonies.

  3. Nicholas Campion's "Book of World Horoscopes" (2nd ed. 1996) was relied upon for providing accurate sources for national "birth dates"; other sources are cited below. For information on aspect orbs, see the link above or go here [link to come]. The three-digit numerals indicating planetary strength are based on: major aspects [first number]; minor aspects [second number]; and aspects to ascendant and midheaven [third number].

Copyright � 1998 by Robert Couteau. All rights reserved.

Definition of Terms:

"nation: [Middle English nacioun, from Middle French nation-, nation birth, race, nation, from natus, pp. of nasci to be born; akin to Latin gignere to beget [...] (14th century).]

"country: [Middle English contree, from Old French contr�e, from Middle Latin contrata, from Latin contra against, on the opposite side] (13th century).]" -- Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary (Springfield, MA: Merriam Webster Inc., 1983).

"Country is a defined geographic territory under the authority of an independent government. The term may also be used to refer to the government of such a territory. A country may also be called a nation or a state. In 1994, there were 191 countries in the world, more than ever before. The number of countries has increased since the mid-1900's as more colonies have gained independence and large countries, such as the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, have split up. In size, the countries of the world range from the Vatican City, which covers 1/6 square mile (0.4 square kilometer), to Russia, which covers 6,592,850 square miles (17,075,400 square kilometers)."

"Country," The World Book Encyclopedia, CD-Rom edition, 1997.

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Anima Mundi, Copyright © 1998, 1999 Claudia D. Dikinis

All text by Robert Couteau in connection with Starcats' Astro Academics is Copyright © 1998, 1999 by R. Couteau and cannot be used without the written and expressed consent of the author.