With Politically Charged, a monthly column by QueerCosmos astrologer and Well+Good Changemaker Colin Bedell, you’ll get a look at what’s happening in political and astrological spheres—specifically where they converge.
Ahead of July 4th, the county’s birthday, we look into the astrology of America and how its natal transits highlight all the work that needs to be done amid the current modern civil rights movement converging with a global health crisis.
Just as a human being’s first breath begins their astrology, the signing of the Declaration of Independence began the astrology of America at 5:10 p.m. on July 4th, 1776. The natal chart of the United States locates the Sagittarius constellation on the ascendant, the sun, Mercury, Jupiter, and Venus transiting Cancer, and the moon illuminated in Aquarius.
On the level of the Sagittarius-Cancer-Aquarius vision, the idea of a political body elected by the people, of the people, and for the people was radical in 1776—and it’s radical now. And yet, this independence was declared on stolen, colonized land. Signers of the document penned their names under the “All Men Are Created Equal” clause, yet a number of them were slave owners, making clear that even within the country’s founding moments, the constant and conflicting duality of American horror and American idealism was present.
This brings me to the importance of America’s first Pluto return, happening now: Pluto returned to Capricorn—the sign it was in on July 4, 1776—for the first time since the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 2008 and will remain there until 2024 for a 16-year transit. In astrology, Pluto is contextualized as the energy that reveals the underworld. As it pertains to America’s natal chart, we could examine Pluto as the planet responsible for confronting the gap between the values to which American people pledge allegiance and what occurs on levels of white supremacy, police brutality, military industrial complex, imperialism, undue influence of money in politics, mass incarceration and the prison industrial complex, and many more rampant examples of injustice.
Pluto points out what’s wrong and aims to transform and heal, and Capricorn is the cardinal-Earth sign that rules government, civilization structures, responsibility, and integrity. So for America’s first Pluto return, the planet is highlighting the disparity between what the educational system indoctrinated citizens to believe about our overly romanticized, red, white, and blue history and what crimes against humanity were committed by the country outside of textbooks.
America’s first Pluto return highlights the disparity between what the educational system indoctrinated citizens to believe about our overly romanticized, red, white, and blue history and what crimes against humanity were committed by the country outside of textbooks.
Consider the human body: When it needs to heal, it must first detox itself from the offending virus, pain, or issue. Pluto—which apexes in America’s exact natal position within Capricorn between February 2019 and January 2025, opposing the sun, Venus, and Mercury—is highlighting the fractures in our country’s integrity. The Pluto return can be transformative for the better, though, if Americans confront the country’s history of prejudices and commitment to supporting systemic ignorance, biases, and racism.
This may feel overwhelming, but because each American interacts with the astrology of America, we know that we are all meant to handle this work. We are incarnated at this moment to work toward a solution, each contributing our gifts, abilities, and strengths to this complex moment.
To be sure, celebrating America’s birthday feels complicated amid this societal reckoning of all the work that needs to be done. But that valid reservation can co-exist with a sense of pride for how essential workers, first responders, activists, theorists, artists, politicians, and spiritual seekers embody the power of Cancer—America’s sun sign—which appears as a stellium, or a bundle of three planets, in its natal chart and denounces any level of white supremacy. The power of Cancer energy in the country is that we see, read, and hear warnings and threats to this home. Cancer energy demands fierce protection of the home and family.
From a brief review of our history, we know that America is very slow to get the memo on righteous applications of its intended principles. But when our hearts come alive because we’ve thought of something differently and we contribute that passion into activism, we rise to an exceptional level. Perhaps on America’s solar return this July 4th, when the sun returns to its position on the day the Declaration was signed, we can each close our eyes under the fireworks and imagine what needs to be done for the country to finally apply its founding principles appropriately.