The Astrological Journal May 2016
Victor Olliver's Editorial
Nancy Reagan and how astrology ran America
Scholars of 20th century American history face many challenges, and we are reminded of one of them with the passing of former First Lady Nancy Reagan. The historians' challenge goes something like this: "How do we, the highly educated, rational, probably atheistic scribes of the passing scene, cover up the fact that for eight years the US was run by astrologers, and one in particular called Joan Quigley?" And: "How do we account for the fact that the advice given by Nancy's stargazers was often spot on or productive, adding the Teflon coating to a presidency that seemed inexplicably untouchable whatever the scandal?".
Reading the Nancy Reagan obituaries in the mainstream media, which tended to gloss over her "eccentricities" (i.e. her use of astrology), one could see how revisionism is applied according to prevailing prejudice or agenda. BBC journalists could not resist the de rigueur chirrupy giggle at the mention of the word 'astrology' in their synopses of Nancy's life, as if to distance themselves from career-damaging heresy. So much for objectivity. Frankly, the BBC (let alone other media) does not know the meaning of the word.
It's customary in this letter to outline themes of the issue in hand. But please forgive my break with the usual habit. Instead I'm talking about Nancy Reagan (who passed away aged 94 in March) because the day will come when a proper examination is made of just how integral and effective astrology was to a White House administration. Let's encourage that process here. I have in front of me Joan Quigley's memoir What does Joan say?. A more extraordinary book you are not likely to read. At the start, she quotes Donald Regan (President Reagan's former chief-of-staff) in his review of Nancy Reagan's book My Turn: "[Astrology] was a daily, sometimes hourly, factor in every decision affecting the President's schedule." The chapter that intrigues me most is titled 'Reykjavik'. Here you witness the constructive power of astrology to effect outcomes of political substance. In 1986, a worried Nancy demanded that Quigley calculate whether Ronnie should attend a "secret meeting" in Reykjavik called by the Soviet Union's last General Secretary, Mikhail Gorbachev. Having examined the two men's synastry, Quigley drew up the President's location chart for Iceland's capital. The outcome, she concluded, would be "stupendous". Encouraged and briefed with dates by the astrology, Reagan flew off to the summit. And the eventual outcome (despite setbacks) was the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, described as "an example that nuclear disarmament is within reach." by the Nuclear Threat Initiative (www.nti.org). Had the astrologer cautioned against Reykjavik, think of how history might have turned out. Quigley also played a huge role in steering Ronnie away from his "evil empire" typecasting of Russia, arguably enabling reformative glasnost and perestroika to be initiated. We should remember that Nancy Reagan never denied any of Quigley's stories.
No sense can be made of the significant and popular Reagan presidency without serious consideration of the role astrology played in its twists and turns, as mediated by the First Lady. In a future issue of Journal we'll bring you an interview with astrologer Nicki Michaels whose computer calculations helped Quigley cast the Reagan charts.
Just a bit of space left to thank the many contributors to this issue which delves into the astrology of Syria and Ancient Rome, and into different approaches to chart rectification. And do set aside time to read Aaron Cheak's epic travel trip under a Mercury retrograde. It's weird, worldly and certainly wonderful.
This is the editorial from the May 2016 edition of the Astrological Journal, the UK's premier astrological magazine.