Exploring Canuck Astrology: Reading Canada’s Natal Chart
I recently did a deep dive into verifying Canada’s natal chart. The commonly used one is July 1, 1867 at midnight in Ottawa, which gives an Aries rising chart. That didn’t make much sense to me at first glance, so I wanted to explore the other chart alternatives. You can read the post here.
In the end, I ended up agreeing that the July 1 midnight chart is the most appropriate chart to use, so now it’s time to delineate it. I’m new to mundane astrology, and I’m still a student of astrology in general, so I’ve consulted some references for this interpretation. One of the main ones is this page on Skyscript, which is also a reference given by Astrodienst’s wiki page on mundane astrology.
Here is Canada’s natal chart:
The chart has Aries rising with Neptune making a tight (two-degree) applying conjunction to the Ascendant degree.
On a very literal level, the motto for the Dominion of Canada is “From Sea to Sea.” Canada has the longest coastline of all countries on earth by a significant margin; three different oceans (Arctic, Pacific and Atlantic) border the country to the north, west and east; and the land mass encloses the world’s largest seasonally ice-covered sea (Hudson Bay). All of this is very aligned with Neptune’s oceanic, watery signification and it makes sense that Neptune has such a strong presence in Canada’s chart.
In mundane astrology, Neptune represents socialism, communism and other left-wing political ideas; it’s a push towards collectivism. It is also aligned with mobs, secret plots, sedition, fraud and swindling. In natal astrology, Neptune generally represents both illusions and disillusions, self-deception and the subconscious.
In Canada’s chart, Neptune conjunct the Ascendant in Aries – which is a cardinal fire sign all about initiating and leadership – clearly shows a strong, fiery drive towards socialism and left-wing politics in general. It also shows a streak of corruption running through the heart of the nation – more on that below.
Aries is ruled by Mars, which is in Virgo in the sixth house in Canada’s natal chart. Mars represents the military, war and conflict in general. The sixth house represents public health and healthcare, national services like the army as well as government services and workers in general. Virgo is a mutable earth sign with a transitory, changeable and self-reflective quality.
Canada is renowned (Ascendant) for its socialized (Neptune) healthcare system (Ascendant ruler in the sixth house). This was not always positive however; part of our national healthcare legacy is a long-standing eugenics program. (i.e. the Aries initiatory desire to conquer perceived ills mixed with Neptunian collectivist ideals and the Asc-Neptune ruler being Mars, militant action, in the sixth house of healthcare).
In Canada’s chart, Jupiter in Pisces in the twelfth house opposes Mars in Virgo in the sixth. Jupiter rules Pisces, so he is in a very strong position, ruling the religious and judicial world including the national religion and national justice system, as well as the country’s wealth, banks and bankers.
The 12th house rules prisons, criminals and secret enemies of the country, as well as hospitals and institutions for the weak and infirm; more broadly, it could signify the welfare state or secret societies and occult religions.
So there’s a very strong religious undercurrent in Canada. Most of the country identifies as Christian and many of the early colonizers were missionaries, particularly Catholic denominations including the Jesuits and Récollets, and later Protestants including Methodists and Presbyterians. However, Canada has no official national religion and despite the early push to Christianize the Indigenous population, religious freedom/pluralism has become a core value of Canada’s national identity. This is supported by Jupiter’s strong position in Pisces – he can be a religious zealot at times (opposition to Mars) or he may be welcoming of all religions (Mars tempered by Virgo’s self-reflection).
The twelfth house signifies isolation, which is why it is associated with prisons, hospitals, asylums and other institutions where people are cloistered away. Jupiter’s strong presence in this house manifests in the focus on Canada’s welfare policies and healthcare, but I think it also manifests in our national identity’s preoccupation with isolation, alienation and loneliness. Pisces is the most watery of the signs, signifying deep emotional depths of both joy and trauma. Read any of the classic CanLit books that Canadian kids study in school, and you’ll encounter these themes in a big way. (Remember reading Margaret Laurence’s Stone Angel? It doesn’t get much more twelfth house in Pisces than that.)
Going back to Canada’s Neptune-Ascendant conjunction, I think another major way this manifests is in our national identity as peacekeepers. Canada was very militant in its early years, playing major roles in both World Wars. However, after WWII things shifted and Canada became more reluctant to be overtly martial (Neptune illusion in the first) so we got into peacekeeping in a big way. Peacekeeping sounds nice in theory, but it’s really a military force (Mars ruling the Ascendant) that invades other nations to enforce peace (Aries rising with Neptunian collectivist ideals in the first).
Another dark version of Canada’s Aries rising/Neptune conjunct the Ascendant are the actions that Canada has taken against the Indigenous population. It’s easy for someone like me, a middle class 21st century descendant of white settlers, to embrace the polite Canadian stereotype. I can only imagine that an Indigenous Canadian would feel very differently. To the Indigenous peoples, Canada’s early settlers were the epitome of Aries energy: martial, reckless, headstrong, hellbent on possessing, controlling, colonizing, exploiting and destroying anything/one standing in the way of their mission. This manifested strongly in the aforementioned eugenics programs, as well as in the residential school system, which we are only now beginning to address as a nation through the Reconciliation movement – lifting the veil of Neptunian self-deception, just a little bit.
On a very simple level, I think one of the main ways that Neptune’s position conjunct Canada’s Ascendant manifests is in our Canadian identity crisis and difficult defining ourselves in positive terms, as opposed to comparison with the US. (We are not American – so what are we?)
Canada’s Sun is exactly conjunct Uranus in Cancer in the fourth house. In mundane astrology, the Sun is the leader of the country – so for Canada this would be the Prime Minister, which was Sir John A. Macdonald at the time of its inception, as well as the British monarchy, as Canada was not truly independent for some time after its official founding in 1867.
The fourth house represents the land itself, crops, agriculture and people who work the land, as well as mines and other natural resources – Canada started out as a huge source of natural resource wealth (fourth house) for the British Empire (Sun). This house is in the sign of Cancer, a cardinal water sign aligned with protectiveness and a deep sense of home and place. With the Sun-Uranus conjunction here, the land itself is Canada’s home in a very powerful sense. So, the Sun-Uranus conjunction here puts a lot of emphasis on the physical land of Canada itself and Canadians’ identities trying to eke out their individual existence (Uranus) against the rough wilderness (fourth house).
The emphasis on land manifests literally in the second line of our national anthem (“Our home and native land”) as well as in Canadian art, such as the paintings of the Group of Seven, in which the physical landscape is primal and immediate, a sublime force that all Canadians have baked within their core. It’s in our literature, which is steeped in themes of fighting to survive in the wilderness. I could cite countless examples of this (one of the benefits of having a degree in English literature from a Canadian university); Margaret Atwood’s Survival comes immediately to mind.
Uranus represents political tension as well as right-wing politics, the free market enterprise, and a push towards individualism; it’s basically the exact opposite of Neptune and therefore it’s super fascinating that Canada’s natal chart has Neptune conjunct the Ascendant and Uranus conjunct the Sun. The Uranus-Sun conjunction suggests that the country’s leader will be more right-leaning and capitalist while the country as a whole is much more left-leaning and socialist. This is plainly evident when you look at the list of Prime Ministers, which oscillate between right-wing businessmen and left-wing socialists. This oppositional force also fits neatly within the Canadian identity crisis that I mentioned – we’ve got two completely opposing forces at the core of our national self: genial collectivism and ruthless individualism.
The Sun-Uranus conjunction neatly displays how the moment of Canada’s formation marked the separation of Canada into a democratic, politically left-leaning nation (Neptune conjunct Ascendant) from the monarchy of the British Empire (Sun in the fourth house), but was also ruled by a set of right-leaning elites who favoured capitalism and a free-market economy based on natural resources and agriculture (Uranus in the fourth house).
In combination with the Neptune-Ascendant conjunction, Canada’s Sun-Uranus conjunction also speaks to the long lasting tradition of cronyism, nepotism, corruption, patronage and other political scandals that Canada’s Prime Ministers have been involved with from the beginning of Canadian history. The Sun is the country’s leader, Uranus is disruption (scandals becoming public); Neptune represents secret plots and fraud and the Ascendant is the nation a as a whole.
Sir John A. Macdonald lost his position as the first Prime Minister after the Pacific Scandal came to light in 1873 (though he was re-elected five years later). There was also the Beauharnois Scandal in 1931/2 linked to Mackenzie King, the Sponsorship Scandal in the 1990s and 2000s involving Paul Martin and Jean Chrétien, and most recently, the SNC-Lavalin affair, Blackface incident and the WE charity scandal involving Justin Trudeau. (OK, the blackface thing didn’t actually involve breaking any laws so I guess it’s not an official political scandal, but it’s real gross.) There are many more incidents, spanning basically the entirety of Canada’s political history.
Canada’s natal Moon is at the end of Gemini in the third house. It represents the nation’s common people and women in particular; crowds and where the public attention falls in general. The third house represents transportation and communication, the dissemination of news and information; national communication networks (internet, telephone, newspapers) and neighbouring nations. The Moon rules Cancer so it rules Canada’s Sun-Uranus conjunction, but Mercury rules Gemini, a mutable air sign all about communication and the exchange of information. Tracing this out further, Mercury is in Leo in the fifth house and is therefore ruled by the Sun – so there’s a closed loop of dispositors (i.e. sign rulers in a natal chart) between Mercury, the Sun and the Moon. This acts as a sort of committee where all three planets must take turns and cooperate (or argue).
The Moon’s position in Gemini speaks to the fact that Canada is comprised of ten provinces and three territories ranging over a vast land mass, which requires a robust telecommunications and news network to get information from people (Moon) at one end of the country to another. It also suggests that there are many different stories and information streams (Gemini ruling the third) being sent around the country at once. Even though we are all united as Canadians, the particular city and province in which someone lives will shape their experience of Canada very differently than someone who lives 5000 kilometres away (Gemini mutability and duality).
Mercury’s placement in Leo (a fixed fire sign) is in the fifth house, which signifies theatres, entertainment, children, sports, and various other forms of entertainment and pleasure. While Mercury is alone in the fifth, as I previously mentioned he rules over the third house which contains both the Moon and Venus – Venus is also aligned with arts and entertainment, as well as women and children. In Canada’s chart, Mercury also rules over Mars in the sixth in Virgo, because Mercury rules Virgo. So, the planet of Mercury – which is communication and information exchange – is the dispositor (final ruler) of Canada’s Ascendant and acts in concert with the Moon and Sun.
This puts Mercury in a very prominent position in the chart and means that this is a nation in which the free-flowing exchange of information and ideas is absolutely critical to the wellbeing and functioning of the nation. It means that Canadians depend on an open, public exchange of ideas and information, learning and debating. Maybe the multiple dispositor relationship with the Sun and Moon is also why Canadians apologize so much – we are always aware of other people’s opinions and worry about stepping on anyone’s toes too much.
Saturn and Pluto are making an applying conjunction across Scorpio/eighth house (Saturn) and Taurus/second house (Pluto). Saturn represents our elderly population, life-threatening epidemics (very poignant lately); industries connected to metals and minerals (farmers, mines, coal; I’d put oil in this category too); and public sorrow. The eighth house represents public mortality and people who die, duties associated with death and financial dealings with other countries (trade partners). Saturn is thus very strongly aligned with the eighth house topics, and being in Scorpio – which is a sign also very associated with death and dark things, as well as being a fixed water sign with a profound emotional depth to it – means that Canada is a nation with a deeply brooding, almost fixation, on death. It also puts a large emphasis on our trade dealings with countries around our metal and mineral industries, particularly oil, coal and other minerals.
Pluto signifies transformation and regeneration, as well as excrement and sewers (literally our national shit), and all other aspects of life that are carried underground and hidden away – espionage, organized crime, violence, rape, death, deep investigations. The second house is the country’s own finances and wealth; our revenue, banks, stock exchange and trade. Taurus is a fixed earth sign concerned with the material world – so again, very aligned with second house topics. Pluto’s position here suggests there is a deep undercurrent of corruption within our national wealth and finance, which matches the Sun-Uranus conjunction in the fourth (fraud and corruption involving the Prime Minister and British monarchy).
The contentious national issue of oil pipelines is a manifestation of the opposition between Saturn (oil industry and trade partners) and Pluto (pipelines are a form of sewer, through which black goo flows). In this area, Pluto’s presence also signifies the serious transformation of Canada’s energy industry and how we are going to have to transform (Pluto) out of our economic reliance (second house) on natural resources and oil (Saturn), or else we’re going to be screwed (eighth house).
I could keep going on, but this post is way too long already. Next up is a look at the 2021 forecast for Canada – I know we’re already a week into the new year (and what a week it has already been, after the events of yesterday with our neighbour to the south). So I’ll try to get it out sooner rather than later!