Both Sides Now: Vedic & Western Charts
for the First Man on the Moon

by Anindita Basu and Maria Barron

 

  Commander Armstrong, left, with fellow Apollo 11
  astronauts Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin, in a NASA
  photo.

August-born astronaut Neil A. Armstrong commanded the Apollo 11 mission and was the first human to walk on the Moon, describing his accomplishment as “one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” An individual with such a unique role in history, and with international appeal, seems a fitting subject to use when comparing the two main systems of astrology, the Eastern Vedic and the Western Greco-Roman. Are Armstrong’s historic destiny, and the characteristics that made him the man for the job, reflected in the readings of both sorts of star maps?

According to NASA, Armstrong was born August 5, 1930, on his grandparents’ farm outside Wapakoneta, Ohio, a little town located at 40 degrees 34 minutes North, 84 degrees 11 minutes West in the western part of the state. His birth time, from the Gauquelin Book of American Charts, is listed at 12:10 a.m. Central Standard Time. By national standards, western Ohio was moved from the Central to the Eastern Time Zone twelve years before Armstrong was born. However, since some locales, especially farming communities, were known to be more stubborn than others in following federal time zone dictates, we have relied on the published birth data, including the time zone, for this article.

A Complex Vedic Chart

 

A Fiery Western Chart

Neil Armstrong is an eminently difficult man to summarily characterize through Vedic astrology, which looks at seven planets as distributed in houses and among actual constellations, in contrast to the Western approach of signs. Armstrong’s seven planets are in six different houses by Vedic reckoning.

Mars in the 1st house

The 1st house shows how one projects oneself outside, or how one is perceived by the world. It is the house of appearances — physical, mental and spiritual. Mars is a planet born of the earth, energetic and fiery. In the 1st house, it will manifest as an eminently practical, no-nonsense kind of person. But that will be tempered with a lot of charm, grace and luck, since Mars is in the constellation Rohini (which also holds the Ascendant).

Jupiter in the 2nd house

The 2nd house is the house of livelihood. It shows one’s earning capacity, not in the sense of career (which is shown by the 10th house) but what one makes

 

Talk about get-up-and-go! The picture of Armstrong that emerges from a quick check of the three main points of a Western chart is that of a bold, optimistic, forward-looking, willful and intelligent leader — a man with the fire in his belly to stride to the top of the U.S. space program.

Because the Sun, Moon and Ascendant represent the three-part personality in Western astrology, conflicts and harmonies among these three points in a natal chart can reflect the challenges or ease with which the person faces himself. Harmonious placements of these three lend a natural, less conflicted sense of self. In Armstrong’s chart, his happy and strong Leo Sun is in elemental harmony with his Moon in fellow fire sign Sagittarius. And while his Ascendant breaks fire-sign ranks in favor of airy and intelligent Gemini, it is paired there in tight conjunction with the fiery planet, Mars, natural ruler of Aries, the only other fire sign in the zodiac. So Armstrong has a prominent mix of all three variations of the fire-sign energy in his chart. This is a picture of can-do confidence.



Armstrong’s Vedic chart is above, and his Western chart is below.  In the Vedic chart, the first house is at the center of the top, and the house numbering continues counter-clockwise. The numbers appearing within the houses denote signs, not houses.


from his own toil — the fruits of his labour. The 2nd house also relates to the face, and therefore, to the eyes, mouth and speech. Jupiter here gives a degree of largesse and, in the constellation Ardra, largesse only after a substantial amount of toil.

Sun in the 3rd house

The 3rd is the house of brothers and sisters and friends. Since traditionally one was considered to derive strength from one’s closest associates, this is also the house that shows martial prowess and leadership abilities. It shows one’s choice of friends, whether human beings or whether objects that one pursues with passion, such as hobbies and interests.

Mercury in the 4th house

The 4th is the house of home, happiness and mother. The 4th house also shows landed property and vehicles. Something as mercurial as Mercury inhabiting this house denotes a restless environment, whether in the physical home (which will show in changing residence every so often) or in the mental (which takes the form of ceaseless research).

Venus in the 5th house

The 5th has traditionally been taken to represent past good deeds. It represents the good (and the bad) that one carries over into this present life. It is also taken to be the house of children because it was thought that one’s children are a manifestation of one’s past karma. It is the house of devotion. A naturally benefic planet like Venus indicates the grace of God. However, in this chart Venus is debilitated, which may perhaps mean that one is encashing the last of one’s assets and will need to start accumulating again.

Moon and Saturn in the
8th house

The 8th is the house of death. Or life. This house also rules the ability to hold onto materialistic possessions like property (especially inherited). Saturn, the planet of stability, will thus be immensely helpful here. But Saturn sits here with the Moon, the watery, reflective planet of the mind and emotions. Saturn is a dry planet. It will constrict Moon’s ripples and turn it inwards. There will, therefore, be a tendency to look into that which is closed, constricted or hidden. The 8th house has always denoted occultism, and it is perhaps no coincidence that Moon (mind) and Saturn (introspection) should both be in Moola — a constellation that means “root” and is aligned exactly with the Galactic Centre.
 

Planets in the 1st house (the house of self) also show up prominently in the way a person is seen by others, and here we have the beneficent giant Jupiter adding its larger-than-life, lucky glow to the picture of willful, energetic Mars and intelligent, curious, quicksilver Gemini in the combined 1st-house image the world gets of Armstrong. The Sun, on the cusp of his 3rd house, is in a trine relationship, about 120 degrees, with Uranus on the cusp of his 11th house. That aspect makes for a bright, inventive person and an enthusiastic leader whom people want to follow because they know he cares about them. The sextile angles of about 60 degrees, between the place where Armstrong’s Ascendant and Mars conjoin and the endpoints of that Sun-Uranus trine, form a figure of an arrow on that side of the chart. The planets and angles making up that three-sided arrowhead serve to emphasize the harmony among his ego (Sun), futuristic and revolutionary ideas (Uranus) and actions (Mars). The point of that arrow, marked by the Ascendant and Mars, is related by harmonious trine to his Midheaven, or MC. The Midheaven, representing how one will be remembered, is fittingly located in Aquarius. Fitting because the first moonwalk, the first big party of the space age, was an appropriate introduction to the world’s transition into the astrological Age of Aquarius.

The more internal aspects of the astronaut’s psyche, as reflected in the natal chart, also seem to support the good fortune and notable success signified in his chart’s most prominent features. His mind, thoughts and communication, represented by Mercury, are tightly conjunct his dreams and flights of fancy, represented by Neptune. That the conjunction of logic and dreams is located in hard-working, grounded Virgo, and in the third house of immediate environment, no doubt contributes to the fact that he was able to make his dreams a reality and become an astronaut, rather than just a space buff. That conjunction is linked by trine to Saturn, planet of karma, and by looser trine to the heavenly body he must have dreamt of walking — the Moon.

Although the location of the Galactic Center — the center of gravity in our galaxy — is not a traditional facet of Western astrology, some astrologers have begun taking it into account. One theory, by Charles Harvey, suggests that much as the Sun relates to an individual sense of purpose in life, the Galactic Center relates to a sense of purpose and inspiration for mankind. If so, that point in space, located at 26 degrees Sagittarius, adds new luster to Armstrong’s natal chart. His natal Moon, at 25 degrees and 44 minutes Sagittarius, is spot on the Galactic Center.