With his angular Mars, 8th house Moon and Scorpio Sun, George S. Patton was born to take no prisoners. His stated ambition as a boy was to be a general, a hero and a warrior. Considered by many to be the greatest military commander in U. S history, Thomas Callanan reviews how he fulfilled the potential of his horoscope.
Of the four elements, understanding water is probably the trickiest. Most of us, when we hear the word 'water' think of the stuff that comes from the tap, or perhaps we envision a peaceful lake or stream. Even when water is associated with strength, we tend to think of a picturesque waterfall. Our ancestors may have had a different viewpoint. Water was the sea, a dangerous impenetrable boundary, salty, and of no use whatsoever, but powerful and unpredictable. Or perhaps water reminded them of floods, torrential rain, or raging engorged rivers. Water's association with Mars is not out of place at all, when we visualize these difficult conditions and the destruction that often follows.
I returned to college in my senior year, and I recall an anxious couple of days waiting for my roommate to arrive. He lived in a small Virginia town on the side of a mountain. Torrential rains caused the saturated ground to give way and one square mile of mud, boulders, and huge trees slid down that mountain into the town burying houses and bringing death and destruction so quickly that the unsuspecting townspeople had no time to flee. One local man was quoted as saying he was grateful for 'only' having lost two of his five children. So many fared worse. My roommate did survive, and did make it to school only a couple of days late. He told me if anyone asked him if he wanted to be destroyed by fire or water, after what he saw, he would choose fire. We shouldn't underestimate the power of water.
Abraham Ibn Ezra says of Scorpio:
"It indicates all kinds of moisture that is not steady and varies in nature, which is not useful for life but little. On the whole [it causes] thunder and lightning. It's front part is humid and varying, its middle is mixed, and its end stormy. … Of living things in its share are the scorpions, and [other such] creatures, and small crawling animals, and water animals, and all water that is running swiftly, …"
Water, then is not to be taken lightly, and neither was our Scorpio example to be taken lightly. George Smith Patton was born on November 11, 1885 at 6:38 pm in San Marino, California. His family was originally from Virginia, but left that state for California shortly after the end of the American Civil War. The Pattons were a military family who easily and readily traced their military exploits to the American Revolution where George's great-grandfather died in the Battle of Princeton coming to the aid of George Washington, but not before being bayoneted seven times, clubbed and finally shot to death. A few generations later, a Patton would die at age 31 in the American Civil War, after siring our subject's father.
George Patton Jr., or 'Georgie' as his family called him, was raised on the heroic military exploits of his family and decided that he too would carry on the Patton name and lead a great army in battle. There would be many obstacles for young George not the least of which was his difficulty with reading. Today we would say he had learning disabilities; then he was thought of as simply dull witted. Note his debilitated ascendant ruler, Mercury, in the 6th house of illness. The other significator of the mind is the Moon and she is debilitated and hidden in the 8th house as well.
Patton's temperament is predominantly melancholic with a strong sanguine streak, which is probably a surprise to those who think of him as his nickname, 'Old Blood and Guts', a sobriquet he hated and no one dared call him to his face. The melancholic temperament is cold and dry and most associated with persistence once it gets moving. Think of a boulder sitting immobile and finally pushed downhill. The temperament is expressed through the significators of the manners. For that we look to the planet or planets that most engage Mercury and the Moon. In this chart Mars seems to be our best choice. The Moon is in the exaltation, terms and face of Mars, and Mars aspects Mercury, is Mercury's triplicity ruler, and is in the domicile of Mercury. Jupiter too, should be considered since Jupiter dominates Mercury nearly as much as Mars dominates the Moon. Both planets are angular and therefore able to deliver much of what promise they have. Ptolemy tells us that Mars and Jupiter make the native:
"rough, pugnacious, military, managerial, restless, unruly, ardent, reckless, practical, outspoken, critical, effective, contentious, commanding, given to plotting, respectable, virile, fond of victory, but magnanimous, ambitious, passionate, judicious, successful."
Patton will express his melancholic temperament this way, particularly through the angular Mars tightly conjunct the IC, the cusp of the 4th house of family and ancestry.
The planets in Patton's chart lack essential dignity. The Moon has dignity by triplicity, but is in her detriment and is posited in the 8th house. The Sun has dignity only by face, but is in the 6th house, and Mercury, the ascendant ruler, also has dignity by face, but he too is in detriment and in the 6th house. Venus has dignity by term but is horribly afflicted by an opposition to her dispositor, Saturn in Cancer (detriment).
Venus is the strongest planet in this chart by essential dignity making her the best candidate for lady of the geniture. Venus is intriguing in this chart due to her many connections with the masculine planets. She is in the rulership of Saturn and exaltation of Mars. She is opposite Saturn and trine Mars as well. The Sun is in her detriment. Venus will be heard from during this man's life, which seems curious, as he was a professional soldier, not the most Venus-like of professions. But as Deborah Houlding tells us, Venus is associated with desire. The desire of Venus, the persistence of the melancholic temperament, and iron will of a prominent Mars all mark our native.
Patton's gruff, profane, macho demeanor did not come naturally to him. He was aware of how presence played a role in the installation of discipline. Rank was not enough. He often gave his troops 'pep talks' before they went into battle, which he rehearsed over and over again before delivering them. He practiced his sour continence in front of a mirror, and rehearsed such memorable lines as:
"No sonofabitch ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country".
"An army is a team. It lives, eats, sleeps and fights as a team. This individuality stuff is a bunch of bullshit".
As noted above he had his sanguine side:
"If everyone is thinking alike, someone isn't thinking".
A tough demeanor was required, but it wasn't innate as his reputation might lead us to think. He had to work on it, as he had to work for everything in his life.
Despite the strong sanguine streak in the temperament, Patton was a difficult man. The military is as political as any large organization, and with a debilitated Mercury as lord of the ascendant square Mars, (his significator of manners), we are not surprised to discover that he was often blunt and forceful. "Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way". Talk first and think about it later might have been his motto - not a particularly good credo for a man with such a debilitated ascendant ruler. Even with Venus as his Lady of the Geniture, charm would be forced, as she is in the exaltation of his difficult but influential Mars.
Patton is often characterized as 'complex'. Notice that the Sun, Venus and Mercury, perhaps the most personal of the planets, are all in different signs, without much in the way of reception. The Sun is in the terms of Venus, but that is all. The three planets cannot integrate themselves very well. This is perhaps softened a bit with the partile sextile between the Sun and Moon, but being in the 6th and 8th house, they do not behold or 'see' the ascendant. Furthermore the Moon is not only in her detriment, but is in the rulership and exaltation of the two malefics. The positives in this chart have a very difficult time finding a way out. What kind of a positive outlet does society provide for a maladjusted, aggressive, glory seeker? It wouldn't be impossible to find such a person in the fine arts, (Michelangelo comes to mind), but one needs exceptional talents for that field. Patton did write some poetry, all of it awful.
Business leadership in a large organization requires some tact and diplomacy that our subject lacked. Mercury in Sagittarius in the 6th square Mars is not a signature for tact and diplomacy. Athletics are a possibility, and he was a remarkable athlete at the United States Military Academy at West Point, but again a superior innate physical talent must be present to make a career out of it. No, the best place for such a man is in the military during a war. Tact and diplomacy are secondary to success on the battlefield. War isn't a simple athletic contest where the loser rises up to fight another day. Defeat is to be avoided at all costs, and victory pursued the same way. Patton loved war. And he was good at it.
Pre Natal Eclipse
The Prenatal eclipse provides the seeds for the nativity. The seeds planted are shown by the eclipse degrees, the degrees of the Lord of the eclipse and the angles of the eclipse.
The Lord of the eclipse, not too surprisingly, is Mars at 4 Leo, who also rules the MC of the eclipse chart. Sixteen degrees Cancer rises with two degrees Aries on the MC. Of note is the eclipse Neptune on Algol. Neptune is no stranger to war. It was discovered in 1846 about the same time as the invention of the Gattling gun, and about the time of the Crimean and American Civil wars. These are considered to be the first total wars in world history, i.e., the bulk of the nation's economy was directed to the war.
In the eclipse chart, the part of fortune at 0 degrees Aquarius (I do not reverse for day and night charts. This would be the part of spirit for those who reverse), falls on the fixed star Altair which, according to Robson:
"... confers a bold, confident, valiant, unyielding, ambitious, and liberal nature, great and sudden but ephemeral wealth, and a position of command, makes its native guilty of bloodshed, and gives danger from reptiles."
World War II
Space does not permit our covering all, most, or even much of our subject's professional life. We will touch on the era in which he is best known, the latter part of Second World War in Europe. We have to limit our study of his career to the period from March 1944, when Patton assumed command of the US Third Army through the Battle of the Bulge, (which ran from December 16, 1944 until January 1945), and end with his death in December 1945.
Starting with his solar return for 1943, which would be in effect in 1944, we see the solar return Mars in partile conjunction with his natal ASC. Jupiter Lord of both the solar return and natal MC is conjunct the fixed star Alphard. Robson tells us with Jupiter the star gives, "strong passions, favorable for gain, …"
It wouldn't be until late July 1944, that Eisenhower finally unleashed his wayward general. Patton's Third Army broke through the German lines and in two weeks he marched through France into Germany taking 600 miles of territory previously held by the Germans. Swiftly running waters, indeed. He slowed only once, and that was to liberate the notorious concentration camp in Buchenwald. This was the first of the camps that was liberated by Allied forces. Patton was so outraged at what he saw that he forced the townspeople to tour the camp to show them the horror they ignored. Other American generals adopted this policy as other camps were discovered.
Contemporary astrology, modern and traditional, doesn't mention them much, but primary directions are worth a look. In this case on June 28, 1944 one month prior to Patton's march on Europe, Primary directed Pluto was sextile to the lady of the geniture, natal Venus and shortly after that, Pluto was conjunct the natal part of victory. On July 30, two days after Patton's March began, Primary directed Pluto squared natal Mercury, the ascendant ruler.
Secondary Progressed Venus, Lady of the Geniture, in late 1944 would be approaching Patton's natal MC in Pisces, her exaltation. Exaltation is associated with exaggeration and his professional performance was in a positive sense exaggerated. He accomplished far more and far faster than anyone (other than himself) would have predicted. Venus would also would also trine the natal part of death at 1 degree Cancer. An ominous warning.
The Germans launched a counter offensive in Belgium on December 16, 1944. They pushed American forces back, but could not break through. The American line on a map had a curve in its middle giving this most famous engagement its name: The Battle of the Bulge. Allied forces raced to the area to prevent the German breakthrough, which may not have won the war for Germany, but could well have resulted in favorable surrender terms. This battle was known as the foot soldiers' battle due to the heroics of ordinary foot soldiers doing everything possible to stop the German advance including jumping on German tanks and tossing Molotov cocktails or gasoline bombs into the tanks since they had no heavy equipment with which to fight them. Patton's Third Army was not the only heroic group, but they made their presence known. Patton reversed the direction of his army and marched 100 miles in a snowstorm with no hot food in about two days and went immediately into battle, pushing the Germans back and dashing their hopes for a successful counterattack. British forces came down from the north led by Field Marshall Montgomery, another Scorpio, sealing the German's fate. The battle ended with the Germans in retreat in January 1945. By May of that year, they would surrender unconditionally. By the end of World War II, Patton's third army would liberate 81,000 square miles, an area the size of all of France, and capture 1,250,000 German prisoners, and kill 500,000 enemy soldiers with an army that never exceeded 250,00 men. The Germans must have felt like that little town in Virginia after the mountain slid down on them.
Patton's hopes of being sent to Japan to fight in the Pacific came to an end with the dropping of two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August of 1945, bringing that part of WW II to an end.
On December 9, 1945, George Patton was involved in a Jeep accident causing a severe head and neck injury. On Dec 18, 1945, Jupiter, ruler of his natal MC, opposed by primary direction his natal Moon in Capricorn, ruler of his natal part of death.
A total lunar eclipse on December 19 1945, 2:20 AM GMT set for his birthplace of San Marino, California, has nearly the same angles as his pre-natal eclipse.
The eclipse point of 26 Gemini is on the contra-antiscion of natal Venus, hyleg (giver of life) and Lady of the Geniture. Jupiter is interesting in this chart. At 23 Libra in the 4th house, it is conjunct the benefic fixed star Spica, which gives success, according to Robson. Jupiter is also in mutual reception by domicile rulership with Venus, Lady of the geniture, and exaltation ruler of Patton's MC, as well as a mutual reception by exaltation with Saturn, Lord of the 8th in both the natal and this final eclipse chart. Jupiter also rules the eclipse part of death at 6 degrees Pisces, and is conjunct it by antiscion. Thus tying together Patton's legacy (4th house) with his career (Pisces on MC) and death (Jupiter and Saturn). He would be remembered. Although at one point he rallied and was expected to survive, there was a relapse and on December 21, 1945 he succumbed to the injuries and died. He was buried alongside the soldiers who died in the Battle of the Bulge in Hamm, Luxomberg.
PATTON: THE MOVIE
Do our charts live on after us? In 1970, at the height of the Viet Nam War protesting, a major motion picture, Patton, staring George C. Scott in the title role, was released in American Theaters. It was a huge success and was nominated for 11 Academy awards and won 8 including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor which Scott would famously refuse. In a comment worthy of his character, Scott once referred to the Academy Awards as a 'meat parade'. Its re-release on DVD prompted reviews that were almost universally enthusiastic 34 years after its premier. Scott's performance is one of the finest on film. Scott was born on Oct 18, 1927, in Wise, Virginia (8:45 am EST DD). His nodal axis is in partile conjunction to Patton's ASC-DSC axis (7 minute orb), whilst his ascendant and angular Mercury fall just over 1 degree from Patton's Sun.
The solar return for Patton in 1969, (almost a quarter century after his death) takes place on Nov 12, 1969, 3:28:11 am, San Marino, California. Jupiter, ruler of the natal MC is conjunct the benefic fixed star Spica indicating success in the coming year for his reputation. Note also there is a tight T-square involving an opposition of Venus (Lady of the geniture), Saturn (ruler of the melancholic temperament), both of which square Mars (significator of the manners). Furthermore, each of these planets receives one of the others. Venus is in the domicile of Mars, Mars is in the domicile of Saturn, and Saturn is in the domicile of Venus.
The Motion picture gave a wonderful capsule characterization of his career, demeanor, and even a glance into his temperament while covering a relatively short period of his life. Canopus is on the MC and Robson tells us it gives "Great Glory, fame, and wealth, dignity and authority by the help of an old clergyman or influential person". Franklin J. Schaffner, the director of the film is the son of missionaries.
Patton's chart is striking once we know his character and reputation. Would we look at this chart and conclude it belonged to a successful warrior? Or would we look at the lack of essential dignity and see nothing exceptional? For astrologers who see free will as paramount in the life, this chart should be an example of how people can make the most of what they've got. It is true that Patton may not have realized his full potential without a world war. The lowest point in his life was the period between World War I and World War II. And perhaps circumstances beyond our control prevent many from reaching that potential. But Patton's life demonstrates that we are not damned by any chart or placement. Effort, perseverance, desire, and will, can and do produce what natural (essential) abilities cannot produce by themselves. We don't need a war or other external events in order to accomplish things. We need to move the fire, earth, air and water that make us what we are.
Notes & References:
||The Beginning of Wisdom, translated by Meira Epstein, ARHAT 1998. Robert Hand, in a footnote to this phrase writes, "All of our texts agree on this point, but this is strange. With most traditional sources, Scorpio rules stationary, not flowing water". Of the several texts I checked, it seems that only Al Biruni specifically mentioned "pools of water". The others seemed silent on the point - at least in the sections I read. Ptolemy says Scorpio is a fitting sign for Mars destructive nature. Torrential waters are destructive.
Back to text
||Lois Rodden's The American Book of Charts gives CST. However, CST was never used in Wise, Virginia (or any place in Virginia for that matter). Wise is close to the Kentucky border and eastern Kentucky is in the Central Time Zone, but The American Atlas (1978) states that Wise, Va. used EST beginning in 1883
Back to text
is an American perpetual student of astrology, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. His interests are in the practice of traditional western astrology and the philosophy that supports it. He can be reached at email@example.com
© Thomas Callanan, October, 2004.