Tag Archives: Sibly

That 19°49′ Aquarius Ascendant

Much of what Sibly wrote seems archaic by today’s standards, and much of the material is obsolete.  This impairs somewhat our present-day reading of the text, but one clue emerged a few months ago.

First, the engraving:

Sibly's 1804 engraving showing the delivery of an astrology chart to George Washington

Sibly's engraving that appears in "An Illustration of the Celestial Science of Astrology"

The chart, in square format common to the day, lists the seven classic planets, the lunar node, uses Placidus houses, and even has a date (July 4 1776) and time (10:10 PM) for us.  Simple enough on the surface, but looking closer, we see that the elements of time and place do not match, and the chart reveals itself as a cryptogram.


The chart is drawn for the latitude of London, but the planets are calculated for Noon at Philadelphia, which would equal 5 PM at London, which is not the 10:10 PM time, nor the time of that day that the chart’s ascendant of “19°49′ Aquarius” is rising.

What gives?  Is he just sloppy?  Or, is he trying to do the work of four charts in one?  Or maybe more?  Consider that Sibly is one of the few astrologers from the milieu of the late 18th Century that saw the events from the locale of England and left their thoughts on paper.  He saw England as the center of the political universe, and perhaps it was at that time.  He states his bias on page 1049, and believes Englad gave birth to the United States, and therefore his locale of choice is London.

Then, Sibly goes through a brief explanation of “ingress” charts for the spring equinox and summer solstice that preceeded the Declaration of Independence – a technique that is still used in contemporary astrology.  He them employs (on page 1053) an obsolete technique for progressing the ingress charts at the rate of a day for every week.  The reason he gives for using this particular rate of progression is that the two significators of the chart – Mars and Saturn – are in “common signs, which denote weeks.”

In other words, becuase July 4, 1776, fell 14 days after the summer solstice, the progressed angles of the solstice chart would notch up two days of motion.  The ascendant of the summer solstice over London in that year, according to Sibly’s calculations, is 16°19′ Aquarius.  The time of this event is 10:40 PM LMT, June 20, 1776, London.  Thus, 10:40 PM LMT of June 22 yields an ascendant of 19°49′ Aquarius, and the angles of the chart in the engraving.

It is understandable that this day-for-a-week technique had fallen under the radar of modern astrologers, but hopefully this will put to rest one confusing aspect of the so-called “Sibly Chart.”

Now that we know where it comes from, can we assume that it is highly unlikely Sibly was telling us that the actual timing of the signing of the Declaration of Independence had anything to do with 19°49′ Aquarius on the ascendant at London or Philadelphia.


Could it be that astrologers in Phili were using the same technique as Sibly, and timing events with this technique?

There is some historical evidence of consequence for this time of day on the 4th being important to the document, but this raises a larger question of the timing of events in July of 1776.  July 4th was really not considered “independence day” until some time after the fact, but we’ll get to much of that in posts to come.

– Ed K

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Sibly’s Dangling Mercury

Once again, I find myself deconstructing Sibly.  No, not “Sibley.”  Well, yes, “Sibley,” but we all know where that misspelling started and we’ll never know all the folks who carried the mistake forward like a virus.  Well, anyway.  Here I am, again, with some news about Sibly.

Big news, too.

But to begin, we have to go to Engraving “#53” from Sibly’s “Celestial Science …” (across from page 1048 in my Kessinger reprint) with George Washington, Justice, a baby, a Native American, and the “hand of Fame” giving an astrology chart to the world.

It’s quite an amazing chart, right there for anyone to jot down and interpret. That is, if you can understand it, and to do that one must understand its purpose for being there in the first place, and then decipher the message.

What is the “Federal Union” in the eyes of a person like Ebenezer Sibly? Where does this new government come from, and who does it serve?  As we’ll see, those are not easy things to lay out simply, but symbols can carry a thousand words.

Take, for instance, Mercury.  Merc’s glyph is a complicated little devil for a planet so often overlooked in the litereature.  Mercury is a trickly little planet, hiding often on its convoluted path that is never more than 27 degrees distant from the center of the Sun.

Mercury was obsessed over by the Chaldeans, to the point where a precise measure of its cycle – within minutes of modern accurate mesurement – was achieved.  John Dee seemed fond of it. And Sibly knew something else about it of such importance that he left us a trail.

The trail begins with the graphical situation of Mercury in the aforesaid engraving.  Looking closely, Mercury is not on the “scroll,” but dangling off the edge!  The significance of this depends on whether it is a deliberate clue or simply a flawed engraving, but that becomes more clear when we realize that Mercury’s position listed in degrees is a full 3 degrees away from its actual positon, while every other planet is listed witin arc-minutes of the actual measure.

Could it be that Sibly wants us to notice?  If so, what is he saying?  Could it be that this Mercury on the chart for “America Indepdence” is the Mercury of a whole different chart?  If so, how in the world would we find it?

The search for this answer led us here at Emersion down unexpected paths; some were fruitful, some were not, but the accumulation of knowledge may lead you to question how you feel about how the world operates and who might be in charge.


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