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Your Birthday Headlines: A Day In The Life
by John Townley and Susan Wishbow Townley

Comedian Steve Allen, who was also an astronomy and science buff who spent many years debunking astrology and other related arts, once sarcastically remarked, "You could learn more about yourself from reading the newspaper of the day you were born than you ever could from a horoscope." A provocative thought, especially to an astrologer!

Far from being a dismissal, it goes to the heart of the doctrine of beginnings which is fundamental to astrology. If much of your character is shaped by the form of the heavens on your day of birth, then the events under those same heavens should logically partake of much the same style. As above, so below...Perhaps that partly explains the popularity of that perennial gift item: a framed newspaper commemorating a birthday, anniversary, etc.

We happened to be writing some promo for The New York Times Sunday Magazine advertising section not long ago, when we had the opportunity to review a mail-order firm doing just that - selling carefully preserved and packaged original newspapers. Not just front pages, mind you, but the whole editions, with radio listings, ads, obits, and all - your choice of dozens of major newspapers all the way back to the turn of the century. Seeing the chance for some first-hand research, we rang up the proprietor, who generously provided us with a copy for each of our birthdays, plus one for President Clinton, and we were off on our road to hopeful self-discovery.

We started by correcting a mistake one of us had made years ago when following this same thread - this time we picked the edition dated the day after each birth, since that is the edition that reports what went on the day before, the birthday itself. So, that meant that though John was born August 17, 1945, we selected the next day's paper (Aug 18) which reported events on the day of his birth. So with Susan, born on July 1, 1947 we selected July 2, and for Clinton, born August 19, 1946 we used August 20. We wound up with two copies of the New York Times and one of the New York Herald Tribune and started digging.

Age before beauty, we checked out the 1945 date first. John's mom always said the Japanese surrendered when they heard of the birth, and lo and behold, they did! Well, maybe not just for that reason...actually, the most scary part of the paper was the first released photos of the Hiroshima explosion, right on page three. Well, what do you expect from a Mars/Uranus conjunction? Lots of end-of-the-war violence, even in the States, where the day before in San Francisco ten celebrants were trampled to death in VJ-Day partying. Fifty-six people were killed in a munitions explosion in Oslo, long after VE-Day was past and gone. Explosions were flaring all over - when the Dodgers lost 4-3 to the Cubs, the crowd (accompanied by a number of Dodgers) burst onto the field and mobbed the umpire.

There was a lot of Saturn around that day, and the headlines showed it: 100,000 laid off their jobs as war contracts ended (Venus/Saturn conjunct), and end-of-the-world weapons speculated (many to become real too soon) on the front page, below the fold (Pluto=Saturn/Mercury), and predictions of the future abound. An astrologer is born?... But on the funnier side of that planetary picture, what do you get when you dig up oil (Pluto) and cleverly crystallize it (Saturn/Mercury)? Plastic, that's what. Right there on page eight, the first-ever plastic plates hit the market! John is embarrassingly fond of plastic plates to this day, much to Susan's chagrin...

Asteroid fans like Susan might have a smile to know that Juno=Pluto/Jupiter that day, and sure enough an all-time record number of marriage licenses were issued accordingly. Was John later so compulsive and hasty?...mum's the word, thank you...

So what else was going on in the heavens? One might notice an ongoing conjunction of Jupiter and Neptune (the "High Priest" aspect), which shows up nicely in the dedication of the book page to a wrap-up of recent publications on world religion. No doubt philosophy and spirituality will be a central theme of this period's natives. While on Neptune, the Sun=Venus/Neptune, so the arts and maybe the sea are in there as well. Sure enough, a world folk music festival of the Allies is on the arts page, and where does John wind up singing folk songs of the sea decades later? Why in Poland, of all places, right on the Russian border - read "Russo-Polish Border Fixed By Treaty" on the bottom of page five. Like Prego, it's in there...

Not every page is a revelatory gold mine. The hottest thing playing the cinema was Pinnochio, hardly John's fare, though the recipe of the day was for shrimp, a definite fave. The obits yielded nothing, which turned out to be the case for all three dates - perhaps bygones are just bygones. And, there are a lot of events that may not yet have come to reflect themselves. After poring over the issue for a couple of hours, finding some things not repeatable here, John found a large ad of a sweaty fellow fleeing a lawnmower with a smile on his face and a big beer bottle in a balloon over his head: "I'm headed for Hoffman's," it read, "the bottled beer that tastes fresh from the KEG."

It was clearly time for a trip to the store! ...and then we started on Susan's copy of the Herald Tribune of 1947...

Susan was born on July 1, so we used the July 2 edition. What a difference a couple of years make - Susan could SHOP!!! The '45 Times had no more than a handful of ads, the new post-war economy stuffed the Tribune full of them. That was appropriate from the get-go - from defeated Japanese to triumphant JAP in a single bound! (OK, so Wishbow doesn't sound Jewish, just "opportunistic," as a dear Virginia aunt puts it - read: the folks at Ellis Island couldn't spell the original). Nevertheless, all those ads...what an opportunity...and, no different than today, ads have a tale to tell about what's happening. In post-War New York, everything for the consumer was back on the news page, but this day was highlighted from above by Uranus, Neptune and Venus (Mercury/Moon=Neptune, Venus conj. Uranus opp. Moon) and Venus biquintile Jupiter. Liquor and cigarette ads abound, and big fashion stories (Susan was to become a clothing marketer) and ads to match them crowd the pages. Even men's fashions - see that straw boater for $7.50 at Rogers Peet! Are there sailor songs in your future, Susan? And that big ad for Havana cigars, 2/25 cents - Susan's dad is still sending them to John...

Some things belonging to the same set of aspects haven't resonated as much, at least not yet. Like, this was the day the microwave oven was announced (Venus/Uranus), but touted by developer General Electric as only for warming frozen food and NOT for cooking. Susan couldn't agree more and has never owned one. Nevertheless, the food articles were the first that caught her eye, like the review of Gourmet's Guide To Good Eating and the news that 50 tons of pre-War quality Swiss cheese had just hit the shops. On the far side of Neptune, Venus and eating were the focus of a couple of stories about General MacArthur defending Japanese whaling because it saved the U.S. money on food-aid.

On the darker side, that day was the conjunction of Mars and the Lunar North Node, to the tune of two local 11-year-old boys meeting harsh circumstances, one with a fishhook in his eye from his first-ever cast, the other eaten alive by a pack of dogs in the Bronx. Susan still loves to fish, but having been bitten by a dog is very wary of the beasts, indeed. Even darker were the many stories that reflected the long-ongoing Saturn/Pluto conjunction: dark unrest in the Balkans, violent doings in Israel, lingering starvation and misery across war-torn Europe and Asia, and activist attempts to correct them. Even the House UnAmerican Activities Committee raised its ugly head in a Bill Mauldin cartoon. One could hardly grow up to be politically aloof with all this happening at Pluto was right on Susan's Sun/Ascendant, death issues are a major motivation in her life.

The Neptune, Jupiter, and Venus that abounded that day, along with a lot of creative quintiles, gave their mark to the movies, as Esther Williams splashed about in "Fiesta" - but they also added mystery. A G.I. pilot single-handedly took off in a B-17 and crashed it. How did he manage? We'll never know - there's more than a bit of that Mars/Node conjunction in that one as well. Along the same line, the right-wing "Black Maquis" plot against the French government was unmasked on the same day. Things you don't read about in your school history books...

Throughout, Susan's birthday is a good study in planetary aspects and happenings on earth, not only at the time but in the life of at least one person born then. The "as above, so below" principle seems pretty much in operation.

But this is all a little bit too subjective - like, we know our own lives inside out and probably could find something in common with any day's headlines. So how about someone who's better known to the public at large and not as intimately known to us?

That's why we picked Clinton. He's as open (or closed) a book to you as he is to us.

This time, lacking an issue of Hope, Arkansas' newspaper, we were back to the New York Times, courtesy of our benefactor. Glad to be there, too, as it's a bigger paper than the Herald Tribune and printed on much more enduring paper, so it doesn't fall apart in your hands so much. Clinton was born August 19, 1946, so we used the August 20 Times.

As most are aware, since the President's chart is so well known, this day was full of aspects, both major and minor, more than the previous two. The biggies were a close conjunction of Mars, Neptune, and Venus, and a wide conjunction of Saturn, Mercury, and Pluto with Mercury exactly at the middle, plus a tight trine of Jupiter and Uranus. The minor aspects abound, and include: Sun semisquare Venus, Mercury sextile Venus, Mars, and Neptune, Sun nonile Mars and Neptune, Uranus nonile Saturn, Venus sextile Pluto, Moon quintile Saturn, Jupiter quintile Pluto, and Uranus septile Pluto.

Well, we were greeted with a newspaper chock full of news, especially including international involvements that this future president would have to deal with much later, then very much in their developmental stages. On the front page alone we met with local primary elections due the next day, and problems with China, India, the Mideast, and the Balkans, menus for what Clinton would have to deal with in his presidency. Page three added South Africa, Japan, and Malaysia. It was an unusually big day for world news.

Future domestic issues abound as well, especially pages of tobacco advertising, not the least of which that big cigar down in the corner of page 25, and an article about the price of cigars about to rise sharply! More to the real political point, on the last page The American Tobacco Company loses a suit for $347,607. In parallel vein, on the same page, long-time foe of the Democrats right-wing Senator Edwin C. Johnson of Colorado resigned, passing the wand, so to speak to the likes of Newt Gingrich and Bob Livingston who would do so later.

Of particular note, considering the Mars/Venus/Neptune conjunction is that unlike for Susan and John, good movies abound: The Marx Brothers' Night In Casablanca, Hitchcock's Notorious, Bette Davis in A Stolen Life, Paul Heinried in Of Human Bondage plus a variety of other entertaining B movies like Seventh Veil, Whistle Stop, Kitty, and Arabian Nights. Broadway was aglow with live hits like Carousel, Show Boat, Life With Father, Song Of Norway, Annie Get Your Gun, and Oklahoma! An appropriate birth time for charm and showmanship...

Books being reviewed were a bit more preciently ominous, such as All The King's Men by Robert Penn Warren, or humorously prescient like Eve's Second Apple, described as "a rib-tickling, hilarious blend of sin, sex, and satire." Even fashion was future-forecasting that day, with a Russek's ad modeling "our Left-bank Berets" jumping Monica-like off of page five, with a very, very steep price tag...

Even the sports page has something to offer in the way of future forecasting, with "Arkansas Golfer Sets Pace With 65," though the food page, featuring petite marmite, is rather above Clinton's penchant for fast food. Education news was touting international scholar exchange, which was to give Clinton his education and draft deferment. But most of all, like the sky above, the world below was chock-a-block with numinous events full of future implications, especially to those who would have to deal with the government and changing culture generations later.

If you really wanted to tempt fate and find something about everything, you would look for a suggestion that Susan and John are in there somewhere - even though it's not their birthday - simply because they're writing this article. Too much to ask? Perhaps...but look on page 29, down there at the bottom: "Two Adrift All Night On Sound In Sail Boat." That's about a couple who set out on a Neptunian venture from...Sea Cliff, Long Island. Gee, isn't that where John and Susan live?...'nuff said...

Neptunian venture, indeed. No one would try to argue that this hopefully amusing tale of birthday papers is a Q.E.D. for "as above, so below," or that our earlier-mentioned comedian was right in saying that the New York Times is on a par with a well-interpreted horoscope. Nevertheless, it certainly does suggest that things on any given day are more all-of-a-piece than one might surmise...and those born then - well, they're just some of the reflecting, interacting pieces that may grow from it.

If you'd like to try this out for yourself and are lucky enough to live in a metropolis with very complete library microfilm files, you can explore your own day of birth for free. Or, there are various places on the Web that will sell you complete originals of past newspaper editions for a fee.

From: Dell Horoscope Magazine, June 1999

Cycles of the Moon & Sun

From Lunar Returns — Meet The Moon

Seize The Day

Of Time And Tides

Paul Kammerer: The Law Of Seriality (fr. Fortean Studies - .pdf)

Professor Seward's Foray From The Beyond

Toward a Physical Basis for Astrology

 Heavenly Vacations

Your Birthday Headlines

America Quo Vadis

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  Copyright © John Townley 2005. All rights reserved.
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