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Astrology's influence in three modern governments

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Title:
Astrology's influence in three modern governments
Creator:
Jones, Sean
Place of Publication:
Denver, Colo.
Publisher:
University of Colorado Denver
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
118 leaves : ; 28 cm

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Degree:
Master's ( Master of Arts)
Degree Grantor:
University of Colorado Denver
Degree Divisions:
Department of Political Science, CU Denver
Degree Disciplines:
Political Science
Committee Chair:
Cummings, Michael
Committee Members:
Everett, Jana
Robinson, Anthony

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Astrology and politics ( lcsh )
Astrology and politics -- Decision making ( lcsh )
Genre:
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 114-118).
General Note:
Department of Political Science
Statement of Responsibility:
by Sean Jones.

Record Information

Source Institution:
|University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
|Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
40462421 ( OCLC )
ocm40462421
Classification:
LD1190.L64 1998m .J66 ( lcc )

Full Text
ASTROLOGYS INFLUENCE
IN THREE MODERN GOVERNMENTS
by
Sean Jones
A.A., El Camino College, 1986
B.A., University of Maryland, 1991
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
Political Science
1998


Copyright 1998 by Sean Jones
All rights reserved.


This thesis for the Master of Arts
degree by
Sean Jones
has been approved
by
Michael Cummings
Anthony Robinson
Date


Jones, Sean Michael (M.A., Political Science)
Astrologys Influence In Three Modem Governments
Thesis directed by Professor Michael Cummings
ABSTRACT
Astrology has influenced politics in several governments during the last several
centuries. Though generally considered to be nonscientific, astrology has continued
to serve as a political decision-making tool into the twentieth century. Many Eastern
heads of state still rely on astrologers to some extent.
Three modem governments have included political leaders who have relied on
astrologers to a significant extent. An astrologer controlled the schedule for the
Reagan Presidency for eight years. Notable members of Nazi Germanys ruling elite
practiced occult rituals and hired astrologers. And, astrology determined the course
of action for Indira Gandhi on several occasions.
The culture of a nation determines to what extent a political decision-maker may be
inclined to use astrology and whether or not he or she will admit seeking guidance
from astrologers. In nations where a tradition of astrology prevails, constituents tend
to accept a leaders reliance on astrology more than in nations where the citizens
themselves do not place credence in stargazers.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I recommend
its publication.
Signed
v Michael Cummings
IV


CONTENTS
CHAPTER
1. INTRODUCTION.................................................1
How One Makes a Decision Based on Astrology..............4
Astrology in the Historical Perspective...................8
Astrology Prevails in Asia Even Today....................12
2. THE REAGAN PRESIDENCY.......................................17
Introduction.............................................17
Astrology Affects the Presidents Schedule...............20
The Forty-Year History of the Reagans Involvement
With Astrology...............................!...........28
Astrologer Joan Quigley Persuades Reagan to Warm
To the Soviets......................................... 33
The White House Astrologer Helps Shape Public Opinion....36
Summary of Astrologys Influence over Reagans
Decision-Making..........................................38
3. ASTROLOGY AND THE OCCCULT IN NAZI GERMANY...................41
Germany and Britain Hire Astrologers.....................43
How Astrology and the Occult Gained Influence
In Nazi Germany..........................................45
v


To What Extent Did Hitler Himself Rely
On Astrology and the Occult?................................47
Astrologys Influence over Rudolf Hess......................59
Hess Flight to Britain.....................................61
Astrology and the Occult Influence Hesss Decision
To Fly to Britain...........................................64
Other Evidence of Hess Involvement with Astrology
And the Occult..............................................66
The Aktion-Hess: Germany Arrests Astrologers................68
Heinrich Himmler and the Occult Traditions of the SS........69
The Allies Refuse to Allow Belief in Astrology
And the Occult as a War Trial Defense.......................78
Summary of Chapter Three....................................78
4. INDIRA GANDHI...................................................80
Accounts of Indira Gandhis Belief in Astrology.............82
The Tradition of Astrology in India.........................90
Indian Political Decisions Made in Accordance
With Astrology..............................................95
Summary of Chapter Four.....................................98
5. CONCLUSION.....................................................100
Reasons for Political Leaders Denying
Belief in Astrology........................................101
Cultural Aspects...........................................103
vi


How the Historical Context Relates
To Culture................................................104
Is Harm Done When Astrology Affects
Political Decisions?.................................... 105
Why do Political Decision-Makers Rely on Astrology?.......107
What are the Consequences of Political Decisions
Supposedly Based on Astrology?............................109
Are There Further Political Decision-Makers Who Believe
In Astrology?.........................;..................Ill
BIBLIOGRAPHY...........................................................114
Vll


CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
In antiquity, divination was esteemed as an official
institution. Everywhere, in Egypt and Mesopotamia,
even in Israel and later in Rome, it was obligatory for
political and military leaders to consult the oracle to
take the auspices, before embarking upon any
enterprise unless they were prepared to be accused of
failure, or having omitted to seek guidance from the
gods (Flaceliere 1965: ix).
In modem times, one would probably expect the opposite to be true, that a
political leaders judgement would be questioned for relying on the advice of a
soothsayer. Advances in science and technology have displaced occult practices such
as astrology in shaping modem societys perception of the world. Consequently,
political decisions tend to be based on scientific, observable, demonstrable facts
rather than intangible, subjective influences of distant planets and stars. While
hundreds of years ago people expected a ruler to consult his or her court astrologer,
today many would find such practices questionable at best.
Ironically, where people may be inclined to doubt the judgement of a political
decision-maker who relies on occult advice, the majority of the worlds population
believes in astrology to some extent (Weimann 1982: 275; Leek 1972: vi; Truzzi
1972: 22). Given that political leaders are not created in a vacuum, but tend to be
chosen from among the general populace by some means or another, it follows that
those who rise to influential positions may have a certain amount of belief in
1


astrology. Stated another way, if one were to take subsets of a society consisting of
those who are political decision makers and those who believe in astrology, there will
inevitably be an intersection of these subsets, namely political decision makers who
believe in astrology.
But, an important distinction should be made. What is the difference between
believing in astrology and making political decisions based on astrology?
Certainly there could be the case in which an influential political figure believes in
astrology, but makes no political decisions based on any kind of astrological advice.
Assuming that not every government official falls into this category, there may
remain some political decision makers who actually do base political decisions on
astrological advice.
At least three national governments of this century have included policy-shaping
members who based political decisions on advice given to them by astrologers and
other occult practitioners. The United States Chief Executive abided by a schedule
strictly controlled from 1981 to 1987 by a professional astrologer. For twelve years,
chief officials of the Nazi government practiced occult rituals and relied on a staff of
astrologers. And, in India, where a political leaders use of astrological advice is
more accepted than in the West, the Indira Gandhi regime consulted soothsayers
regularly. These three governments serve as a sample from which one can make
certain important comparisons: the Reagan presidency relied on astrology in the
context of a democratic republic which had to be sensitive to voter opinion; the Nazi
Party indulged in astrology and the occult in a totalitarian atmosphere; and Indira
Gandhi's government embraced celestial guidance in a culture generally accepting of
the practice. The political climate in each of these three states colored the way in
2


which the respective leaders could deal with astrological influences over their
governments.
Perhaps it seems incongruous that modem governments could make decisions
based on information perceived to be fanciful, or at least outmoded, in the face of
todays scientific breakthroughs. But, the introduction of this thesis traces the use of
astrology for political decision-making through history. In the broader historical
context, astrology has been, if not prevalent, then certainly common, in the political
arena.
Besides the historical perspective, one has to consider the cultural viewpoint. It
may be a Western phenomenon not to place credence in astrological advice. In
certain Eastern nations, the astrologer still plays a significant role in advising
politicians. The introduction will show that not only is astrology-based political
decision making not such an anomaly when seen from the longer historical view, but
also that astrology still tends to influence politics in many areas of the world,
generally more Eastern than Western.
The focus of the introduction is to present the arguement that for a political
decision-maker to follow astrological advice is not as odd as it might first appear,
given the historical precedent and the fact that such a practice still occurs today in
much of the world. The second chapter depicts the Reagan presidency and shows that
gradually more and more of the presidents daily functions were scheduled by an
astrologer and that this control of his schedule affected the way he operated. Chapter
Three concerns itself with the occult practices propagated by senior Nazi officials and
contains incidences in which political decisions may have been based directly on
advice from astrologers. In Chapter Four, the leadership of Indira Gandhi comes into
3


view, and demonstrates that a culture of astrological believers made it difficult for one
of Indias modem heads of state not to consider the advice of astrologers whether or
not she personally had been inclined to believe. Finally, the conclusion highlights
similarities and contrasts developed in the preceding chapters and concentrates on the
significance of a modem political leaders use of astrological advice, or more simply
stated, what are the implications of astrologys influence on politics?
How One Makes a Decision Based on Astrology
By means of an introductory answer to the question of how astrological
guidance could affect politics, Martin Seymour-Smith describes how astrology
operates.
To practise astrology according to strict rules is
impossible. Being neither a science in the modem
sense, nor an art, it must be treated flexibly and
practised in a manner which suits the individual
practitioner. However, there are rules and conventions
which have to be learned and considered before the
astrologer can develop his own approach (1981: 66).
In Lineman's and Popelka's (1984: 17) words:
Simply stated, astrology deals with the relationship
between humankind and celestial phenomena. It is
concerned with correlating planetary movements with
the human condition and events on Earth. Various
specialized branches of astrology are directed toward
the study of human relationships, politics, current
events, weather and the answers to specific questions of
immediate interest.
A natal horoscope is a map of the heavens that charts
the positions of the Sun, Moon, and the eight planets ...
as they appeared at the birthplace of a particular
4


individual at the time of his or her birth. From this
horoscope ... deductions are made according to
astrological logic.
The astrological logic a professional stargazer such as Rose Lineman (1984:
17) employs to advise a client (or native) involves two steps. First, the astrologer
erects the natal horoscope for his or her client in order to determine "personal
characteristics, behavior patterns, emotional responses, inborn drives, natural abilities,
potential for achievement and capacity for growth and development." Once the
astrologer knows the client's astrological constitution, the stargazer can perform
transits, the second step in providing timely advice. As Paul Wright (1989: 13)
states, transits simply calculate the position of the planets at a given juncture (such as
when a person must make an important decision) and determine how the celestial
bodies will affect the native at that point in time.
By way of example, Wright examines the birth chart and transits of Margaret
Thatcher, and though he does not imply that the former Prime Minister of the United
Kingdom relied on astrologers, it is possible to examine what advice an astrologer
might have given her if she had. First, Wright examines the birth chart:
This is a strong "Mars" chart, with Scorpio rising and
the ruling planet Mars conjunct the Sun. So it is that
Margaret Thatcher, for better and worse, is a powerful
living embodiment of the Mars principle. It permeates
her policies and character; it is her strength and her
weakness. She has a thirst for power, an instinctive
understanding of it, and has demonstrated an ability to
grasp and keep it (1989: 156).
5


Next, Wright goes on to show how transits corresponded to political turning
points in Thatcher's life.
If we chart her rise to power in terms of transits and
progressions we find a marked emphasis on Mars and
Pluto.
Feb 2 1960: Elected to Parliament Pluto conjunct
MC; transiting Saturn opposite natal Pluto.
Oct 1967: Seat in Shadow Cabinet transiting Saturn
opposite natal Mars; transiting Jupiter conjunct Moon
June 1970: Full Cabinet member transiting Pluto
conjunct Part of Fortune; transiting Saturn conjunct
descendant.
Feb 1975: Elected Party leader ~ transiting Pluto
conjunct natal Mars; transiting Saturn conjunct natal
Pluto.
May 1979: Prime Minister progressed Mars conjunct
ascendant; Saturn conjunct MC; Pluto conjunct natal
Sun.
When something is happening in the chart (especially
involving Saturn, Pluto or Mars) there is invariably
significant development in her life (157).
If an astrologer were in Thatcher's employ, he or she would have to pay
attention to "when something is happening in the chart" and advise the Prime Minister
accordingly. As Martin Seymour-Smith (1981: 66) states, astrological analysis is a
matter of interpretation, but also of certain rules. If this is the case, then an astrologer
6


who follows Rose Lineman's rules and agrees with her interpretations would view the
above transits in the following way, passing on the information to Mrs. Thatcher:
Pluto conjunct MC: These aspects can indicate
greatness or corruptness depending on whether Pluto
and the MC are favorably aspected or afflicted. For
example, these aspects may be found in the horoscope
of a world leader who dominates global affairs (1984:
242).
Saturn opposite Pluto: The outcome of affairs
influenced by this aspect depends upon the individual's
capacity for hard work and disciplined effort (228).
Pluto conjunct Part of Fortune: This conjunction
centers Plutonian power in the area in which most
successful development is promised by the Part of
Fortune. The affairs influenced by this aspect bring
enormous rewards in one form or another if the
conjunction is favorably aspected (241).
Reading these examples, one may decide that the interpretations are quite
vague. It follows, then, that a particular astrologer has to tailor the advice to the
situation at hand and must know both the client (the political leader) and the client's
situation intimately. As the chapter on Ronald Reagan will show, Joan Quigley
(1990: 12), the Reagans' astrologer, did have an enormous amount of information at
her disposal regarding the decisions the president faced. She knew where Reagan
would be traveling, when he was inclined to act, and the people with whom he would
be interacting. Through thorough analysis of the president's horoscope and insight
gained in lengthy conversations with Nancy Reagan, Quigley would certainly have
been in a position to interpret planetary transits and to shape the advice to fit Reagan's
situation.
7


When an astrologer wishes to furnish guidance to a political decision-maker,
the procedure follows the steps detailed above. First, he or she determines the basic
character of the leader, using the natal, or birth chart. Then, the astrologer factors in
all the planetary movements and how they will affect the planets stationed in the birth
chart. Paul Wright's Astrology in Action includes several examples of political
leaders' star charts. Some of the horoscopes are modem, but the majority concern
historical figures like Charles I of France and James VI of Scotland. As the next
section of this introduction will show, many political decision-makers of the past
relied on astrologers for advice.
Astrology in the Historical Perspective
Gabriel Weimann's (1982: 275) findings introduce astrology's influence in the
broader historical context: At first, horoscopes, or astrological forecasts, dealt with
national problems and were requested for advising kings, noblemen, princes, and even
popes. Schreyer (1989: 16) shows that some of the earliest evidence of state-
sponsored astrology comes from China:
Based on the lunar calendar, Chinese astrology
developed under Taoism, becoming so important during
the Han dynasty (206 B.C. A.D. 220) that the grand
astrologer became an important government official.
Early Chinese astrology was concerned with affairs of
state. The casting of individual horoscopes came later
on, during the Tang dynasty (A.D. 618 A.D. 907).
The Grand Astrologer foretold the destiny of the state
through divination and observation of the heavens.
Since the emperor was the Son of Heaven,
embodying its qualities, the heavens had to be
consulted on all matters of state. The emperors
8


dependence upon the Will of Heaven gave astrologers
immense influence at court. No doubt they sometimes
doctored their predictions in order to solidify their
position with the emperor.
From the Orient, astrology traveled to Greece, where the study became a part
of the oracles repertoire. According to Robert Flaceliere (1965: 68), oracles often
served political ends: political players could convince or bribe an oracle to produce
the desired auspices. As an example, in Sophocles Oedipus the King, Oedipus sends
Creon to the oracle at Delphi to find out what can be done immediately to free Thebes
from plague. Apollo, speaking through the oracle, relates that the murder of King
Laios must be punished (2). Here is a clear example of a political decision based on
the supernatural. When the Spartans declared war on Athens in the 5th century B.C.,
they did so only after strong persuasion from the oracle (62). Later, when Athens
wanted peace with Sparta, Pericles appointed Lampo, the best-known Athenian seer,
to be his Secretary of State for Religion; Lampo used the oracle to convince the
Spartans to sign the Peace of Nicias and form an alliance with Athens (63).
Another Greek, Alexander The Great, recounts Flaceliere (1965: 26) seems to
have had a mixed attitude toward political prognosticators, for early in his career he
insisted on consulting the oracle at Ammon in Libya before continuing on his North
African campaign. Later, as related in Plutarchs Life of Alexander, Alexander
wanted predictions of good fortune for his troops in the Persian Wars, so he went to
consult to the pythia at the oracle at Delphi. She was not allowed to speak, so
Alexander dragged her out forcibly, at which point she told him he was invincible and
declared that it was unnecessary to consult the oracle further (9).
9


Classical Greece provides a prelude to what would happen later in history with
regard to prognostications influence over politics. As scientific thought replaced
superstition in much of the world, astrology no longer had a place in political circles.
In Greece, by the time the Sophists, known for rejecting many non-wordly beliefs,
had gained power in Greece, the influence of the oracles had declined significantly,
according to Flaceliere (1965: 68).
Following its Greek heritage, writes McNiemey (1995: 15), Rome also relied
on advice from professional stargazers:
[Astrology] was considered a scientific doctrine and
had the respect and influence in Roman society that
psychoanalysis does in ours. In fact, most [pagan
rulers] believed in astrology themselves. Their concern
was purely political. Then, as now, knowledge was
power, and astrologers could heavily influence political
events by their predictions and interpretations of
horoscopes. Professional astrologers were deported
from Rome on at least nine occasions between 139 B.C.
and A.D. 93.... Astrology could be, and was, used in
hatching plots and treasons. Emperors often published
their own horoscopes to forestall the dissemination of
false horoscopes by their enemies for political purposes.
By the third century A.D., astrology dominated every
level of Roman society from the emperor down to the
lowliest slave.
From the fall of Constantinople, says Don Cameron Allen (1966: 13), through
the Renaissance, numerous European leaders relied on astrologers for political advice.
The fifteenth-century astrologer, Ficino, predicted that Italy was destined to be ruled
by pious men because Jupiter would displace Mars in the countrys natal horoscope.
Later, Luca Gaurico became one of the favorite astrologers of both government and
the Catholic Church (51). Only his correct predictions were recorded, so no one
10


knows how accurate he was, but Gaurico did predict that Giovanni Beutivoglio would
fall from his post as the ruler of Bologna, foresaw that Alessandro Famese would
become Pope (though he rose no farther than cardinal), and accurately foretold that
Giovanni deMedici also would become Pope (51). Gaurico enjoyed tremendous
success because Italys political and religious leaders craved information about
potential allies and enemies; Gauricos publications included horoscopes of towns
and cities, popes and cardinals, and kings and princes (55). According to Allen, in
Italy, the court astrologer was an established officer at the beginning of the fourteenth
century, and from Italy he found his way to the court of France (51).
Gaurico literally found his way to the court of France from Italy as he went on
to become Catherines personal astrologer, in Allens words (1966: 52). The French
monarch had also consulted with Regnier, Ruggieri, Ferrier, Simyni, and, of course,
the famous Nostradamus. Other French nobles relied on astrologers, too. Louise de
Savoie, the mother of Francis I, was a great believer in prognosis, and hired Henry
Cornelius Agrippa as her physician and because he was also an adept astrologer (51).
Henry IV summoned the astrologer Lariviere at the moment of Louis XHIs birth;
and on the wedding night of Louis XIV and Anne of Austria, the astrologer Morin,
hidden in the apartment, drew up the horoscope of the future daupiri (52).
Allen (1966: 102) says that official involvement with astrology continued its
westward trek from France to England. Edward VI employed several court
astrologers, as did Elizabeth I: The influence of the heavens on herbs and plants was
so well known that the relation between these things was used as a motif in the gown
Queen Elizabeth wears in the Devonshire portrait (49). Famous for being a man of
letters, but less familiar for his mysticism, Dr. John Dee served as Elizabeths
11


personal astrologer for many years (49). It is not clear whether Henry VII himself
believed in astrology or based any political decisions on astrological advice, but when
John Kendal plotted to overthrow the King, the Spanish astrologer Jehan played an
influential role in determining the timing of the coup attempt (101). One of
Englands most famous kings, Henry VIII, certainly relied on astrology: ...Henrys
physicians used the planetary positions in diagnosis and that the King did not hesitate
to use his precepts of astrology on other occasions (102).
From the preceding examples it becomes clear that political leaders of the past
habitually relied on astrologers for advice. Generally, these rulers believed that
astrology gave them an advantage, that they were receiving valuable information, that
not to trust astrologers would have been not to utilize every resource at their disposal.
But these times occurred before the advent of scientific thinking and modem
technology. Theoretically, science should have banished astrology from the modem
world, but, in fact, the old traditions and ways of thinking linger. In many parts of the
globe, political leaders still consider it folly to ignore astrological advice. The next
part of this introduction shows that many modem leaders still consult astrologers,
either because the rulers, themselves, believe in the validity of astrology or because
their cultures are so steeped in a tradition of astrology that they must at least humor
astrologers.
Astrology Prevails in Asia Even Today
No one lives in the Far East very long before realizing the importance of
horoscopes in everyday life. An Asian will not marry, start a new business, take a
long trip or even be buried without the consultation of an astrologer (Schreyer 1989:
12


15). According to Lincoln Kaye (1991: 23), it is illegal to predict the national future
or to consult fortunetellers in China, yet the practice is quite widespread. In Thailand,
by contrast, astrology is practically sanctioned. Handley (1991: 24) writes that
Prayoon Polaree, one of the most famous and esteemed Thai astrologers, counsels
many of Thailands high-level political figures. During the 1991 election, two of the
countrys leading candidates for Prime Minister, Chavalit Yongchiyut and Suchinda
Kraprayoon, both consulted Polaree (25).
Shim (1991: 24) relates that Korean astrologer Kim Hak has built a successful
career catering to high-level officials in Seouls government. Kim specializes in
casting horoscopes for nations (mundane astrology) more so than for individuals
(natal astrology), but in a nation replete with astrological believers, many political
leaders consult him for advice. As an example of mundane astrology, Kim might
compare the charts of North Korea and China to see if they have harmonious aspects;
with natal astrology, he would compare the charts of the leaders of the respective
countries. Kim successfully predicted that Germany would reunify in the early
1990's, foresaw that Nakasone and Takeshita would become successive premiers of
Japan, and foretold that South Korea's Park Chung Hee would be assassinated in
1979. Other predictions in which Kim missed the mark were that Kim II Sung of
North Korea would die in 1994 or 1995 and Korea would reunify, and that Deng
Xiopeng of China would die in the winter of 1992 or the spring of 1993 (24).
Another Asian country where astrologers are in vogue with political leaders is
the Philippines. Until the fall of his regime in 1986, Ferdinand Marcos relied on
astrologers either to guide his decisions or to confirm them. In a 1985 article, an
Economist author relates:
13


The chances are that in the Philippines not much is
going to change in the immediate future. No doubt this
is what Mr. Marcos' astrologer tells him, and so far the
astrologer has been a remarkably successful adviser. If
the Americans want to tune into what Mr. Marcos is
really thinking, perhaps they should get an astrologer of
their own to look at his horoscope, as the Allies did to
try to fathom out Hitler in the second world war
{Economist, October 19,1985, p. 45).
In the former Soviet Union, there is evidence that astrology is making a
comeback, perhaps because, as Gabriel Weimann (1982: 280) claims, people turn to
astrology in times of widespread anxiety in their societies. There is little specific
evidence that political leaders are using astrology to guide them, but in other nations
where astrology has become popular, at least a small percentage of, if not many,
rulers in power in those countries have also been believers. In Schallers (1992: 181)
words, during the late 1980's, "...Stanislav Shatalin, one of Gorbachev's leading
economic advisers at the time, shared the Reagans' belief in astrology." Kapitza
(1991: 34), a prominent Russian social scientist, adds:
Superstitions, cults and mysticism appear with
surprising consistency during a social crisis. Today it is
ESP and UFO's, astrology and clairvoyance, mystic
cults and mesmeric healers. The growth of interest in
such things is a sure indicator of social unrest, personal
uneasiness, frustration and loss of purpose. These
symptoms are also present in the West, particularly the
U.S., where they are more chronic; in the Soviet Union,
however, we have an acute fever.
It is not clear whether this "acute fever" has been contagious enough to affect political
decision-makers, but as Russia moves toward democracy, astrology at the popular
14


level will inevitably find its way into the Kremlin as Russia's leaders are elected from
the country's astrology-believing masses.
By contrast to Russia, India always has been a state brimming with believers
in astrology, so much so that her leaders have to consult astrologers whether or not
they themselves heed the advice, though in several cases they clearly do. According
to Mohan Ram (1984: 59), Nehru may have been one of the non-believers, though
the former Indian Prime Minister consulted with one of the country's most renowned
astrologers and palmists, Sharma. India's secular government officially has no place
for astrology, yet it is common practice for political underlings to solidify their
positions by making accurate predictions for their bosses (59). Every Hindu political
leader has at least one astrologer, says Ram, and, most notably, Indira Gandhi
followed this practice. The former Prime Minister definitely set schedules in
accordance with astrology and was warned to "beware long-haired assassins" in July
1984, just before Sikh members of her bodyguard gunned her down (59). Indira
Gandhi's son, Rajiv, who succeeded her as prime minister, also seems to be guided by
the stars as he insisted that the swearing-in of his cabinet occur at an auspicious time
(59).
Naturally, any Indian leader, especially Hindu, has to consult astrologers,
much in the same way European rulers had to in the Renaissance: they simply lose
credibility if their countrymen believe in the validity of astrological statements and
the sovereigns do not heed advice from astrologers. As an example, writes Ram
(1984: 59), British Viceroy Louis Mountbatten had to comply with India's reliance
on astrologers when he signed the former colony's independence in 1947. Many
Indian astrologers insisted that August 15 would be disastrous for India's future, so
15


they convinced the Indian delegation to persuade Mountbatten to schedule the signing
for August 14, a much more auspicious day.
Chapter Four details more instances of Indian leaders' belief in astrology and
the political decisions they based on astrological advice, while the second and third
chapters recount cases in which Western governments fell under astrology's influence.
Although it still may seem odd that modem governments could conduct business
based on planetary movement, in the broader historical context, many rulers, both
Eastern and Western, have been astrological devotees. Moreover, even today, much
of the world believes in astrology, and several political decision-makers consider
astrological advice to be an important tool. Bearing this in mind, the fact that the
Hitler regime (Chapter Three) the Reagan presidency (Chapter Two), and Indira
Gandhi (Chapter Four) all based political decisions on astrological counsel still may
seem to be in violation with modem scientific thought, yet the practice remains in
accord with centuries-old tradition.
16


CHAPTER TWO
THE REAGAN PRESIDENCY
"Virtually every move and decision the Reagans
made dining my time as White House Chief of Staff
was cleared in advance with a woman in San Francisco
who drew up horoscopes to make certain that the
planets were in a favorable alignment for the enterprise"
Donald Regan in For the Record (1988: 3).
Introduction
"The first lady's dependence on astrology caused a brief sensation when it was
first revealed in Donald Regan's memoirs in 1988, but to a few it had been known for
years" (Schieffer 1989: 183). At first, there may have been controversy over whether
or not Ronald and Nancy Reagan depended on astrological advice, but after the first
leak occurred, more people came forward to tell their account of the remarkable
amount of influence a few astrologers had over the President's schedule, and by
extension, national policy. Besides Donald Regan Kitty Kelly, Joan Quigley,
Jeanne Dixon, Carroll Righter, Sybill Leek, and Nancy Reagan, herself all have
recounted the Reagans use of astrology. This chapter will show that astrological
advice affected politics as astrology 1) influenced the scheduling of presidential
events; 2) helped change the presidents attitude toward working with the Soviets;
and 3) shaped public relations with West Germany.
Joan Quigley waited until Nancy Reagan's own memoirs were published
before claiming to have been the Reagans rumored astrologer. Quigley (1990: 12)
17


puts into perspective the enormous scope of her influence in her book What Does
Joan Say?:
Nancy had put into words what I already knew: that I
had contributed ideas and astrological advice that
shaped administration policy with the USSR and with
regard to other crucial matters. Through Nancy, I had a
direct line to the President. That the astrological work I
did for both Reagans affected the top level of
government is now a matter of history. This book will
describe what I did as an astrologer for seven years of
the Reagan administration.
I was responsible for timing all press conferences, most
speeches, the State of the Union addresses, the takeoffs
and landings of Air Force One. I picked the time of
Ronald Reagan's debate with Carter and the two debates
with Walter Mondale; all extended trips abroad as well
as the shorter trips and one-day excursions, the
announcement that Reagan would run for a second
term, briefings for all the summits except Moscow,
although I selected the time to begin the Moscow trip. I
timed Congressional arm-twisting, the second Inaugural
Oath of Office, the announcement of Anthony
Kennedy's Supreme Court nomination. I delayed
President Reagan's first operation for cancer from July
10,1985 to July 13,1985, and chose the time for
Nancy's mastectomy.
I recreated Nancy's image, defused Bitburg, erected a
chart for the INF treaty. During Irangate, I sided with
Nancy against Donald Regan's proposal to have the
President go on the road to defend his policies one
week after his second operation for cancer. I exposed
the President as little as possible to the public and the
media from January to August 1987, to protect him
from both the physical and political dangers I foresaw.
18


I was heavily involved in what happened in the
relations between the superpowers, changing Ronald
Reagan's "Evil Empire" attitude, so that he went to
Geneva prepared to meet a different kind of Russian
leader and one he could convince of doing things his
way. Improved relations, glasnost, and perestroika,
may, in some small measure, have come out of this.
During this seven-year period, I read the President's
horoscope often hourly, for political reasons as well as
for safety.
Two obvious questions arise from reading Joan Quigley's claims. First, are
they true? In other words, did the Reagans rely on her advice to the degree she
claims? Second, what are the implications of the president's schedule having been so
closely controlled by an astrologer? This four-section chapter examines the extent to
which Ronald and Nancy Reagan set the presidential schedule according to
astrological advice; demonstrates that their reliance on stargazers had at least a forty-
year history prior to the presidential years; and shows two definite instances in which
astrology affected policy, not just scheduling: the Bitburg crisis of 1985 and the
warming relations between Reagan and Gorbachev beginning in 1986. In B.
Seaman's (1988: 24) words:
While Reagan insisted that astrology had not
determined policy, [Donald] Regan and others made an
effective argument that adherence to it and superstition
had significantly hindered Reagan's effectiveness as
President by sharply curtailing his schedule. Further, it
indicated the unusual extent to which Nancy Reagan
became involved in scheduling and interfered with the
normal conduct of the presidency.
19


Astrology Affects the Presidents Schedule
This first section of the Reagan chapter shows the extent to which Joan
Quigley controlled the presidents schedule and how difficult it was for members of
Reagans staff to accommodate her advice on timing. According to Donald Regan
(1988: 74), White House Chief of Staff from 1981 to 1987 (and in charge of the
presidents schedule from 1985 to 1987):
There was no choice but to humor the First Lady in this
matter. But the Presidents schedule is the most potent
tool in the White House, because it determines what the
most powerful man in the world is going to do and
when he is going to do it. By humoring Mrs. Reagan
we gave her this tool or, more accurately, gave it to
an unknown woman in San Francisco who believed that
the zodiac controls events and human behavior and that
she could read the secrets of the future in the
movements of the planets.
And by humoring her, we had given her control. No one except me, and least of all
the President was disposed to interfere with that (359).
Regan (1988: 4) goes on to say:
Although I never met this seer Mrs. Reagan passed
along her prognostications to me after conferring with
her on the telephone she had become such a factor in
my work, and in the highest affairs of the nation, that at
one point I kept a color-coded calendar on my desk
(numerals highlighted in green ink for good days, red
for bad days, yellow for iffy days) as an aid to
remembering when it was propitious to move the
President of the United States from one place to
another, or schedule him to speak in public, or
commence negotiations with a foreign power.
20


The Presidents schedule was then made up and resubmitted to Mrs. Reagan for final
review, writes Kitty Kelly (1991: 430).
Regan (1988: 67) cites the presidents schedule from late 1986 through early
1987 as an example of how much Joan Quigley controlled President Reagans
actions:
Late Dec thru March bad
Jan 16-23 very bad
Jan 20 nothing outside WH possible attempt
Feb 20-26 be careful
March 7-14 bad period
March 10-14 no outside activity!
March 16 very bad
March 21 no
March 27 no
March 12-19 no trips exposure
March 19-25 no public exposure
April 3 careful
April 11 careful
April 17 careful
April 21-28 stay home
Obviously this list of dangerous or forbidden dates left
very little latitude for scheduling.
Donald Regan was not the only one affected (though he was the only one to
go so far as to create a color-coded calendar). Besides Regan, other White House
aides also had to accommodate Nancy Reagans and Joan Quigleys control of the
presidents schedule. According to Lou Cannon (1991: 586), during Reagans first
term, only Michael Deaver and Jim Baker knew about Nancy Reagans astrologer.
Deaver served as Deputy Chief of Staff (and set Reagans schedule) during the first
term, as Donald Regan (1988: 73) relates:
21


Before I came to the White House, Mike Deaver had
been the man who integrated the horoscopes of Mrs.
Reagans Friend into the presidential schedule. He did
so with the utmost tact, leaving the impression with the
dozens of people who wait on any Presidential
scheduling decision, that he, Deaver, was the ditherer. I
found this odd because Deaver was remarkably
punctual and efficient in everything else that he did.
Although in theory Deaver was empowered to make
any entry he wished on the Presidents calendar he
never agreed to any trip or outside event on the spot.
Let me play with this, he would say. Let me see
what can be done. Sometimes days or weeks would
pass before a decision was made. This caused
inconvenience and a certain amount of grumbling
what was taking so long (290)?
Certainly, Michael Deavers appearance as a ditherer had to affect how the White
House functioned as other members of government and the public would have found
it difficult to deal with someone who was always changing the presidential schedule.
Nancy Reagan (1989: 48) acknowledges that the Deputy Chief of Staff knew
about Joan Quigley, but unlike his successor (Regan), Deaver cooperated with the
first lady:
Mike seemed to think it was a good idea to get Joans
input. Like me, he thought: Why not? Why take
chances? It may be nonsense, but does anybody really
know? And people have been fascinated by astrology
for thousands of years. Its one of those mysteries that
just dont seem to go away.
At the beginning of Reagans second term, Michael Deaver (leaving the post
of Deputy Chief of Staff) had to brief presidential assistant William Henkel. When
this changing of the guard occurred, says Kelly (1991: 430), more staff learned of the
Reagans secret:
22


But Deaver reassured him that this astrologer, as
opposed to the many he had had to deal with over the
years, was at least sensible. Look, you shouldve had
to deal with some of the others, especially Jeanne
Dixon. Then, youd know that at least this one is not
totally out of her mind.
Henkel had questioned Deavers sanity in the past for
the strange last-minute changes he had made in the
Presidents schedule, the odd hesitations and unusual
delays, the peculiar times for arrivals and departures,
the conflicting instructions hed issue one day and
countermand the next.
Now I finally understood the reason for all that
craziness, Henkel said. We had a good laugh about
it, but then I realized that I would have to come up with
the same asinine excuses that Mike had used, and
develop the same creative cover stories for what the
First Lady wanted done without telling anyone why she
wanted it done.
As further evidence of how much Joan Quigleys scheduling control affected
presidential operations, White House aide Dennis Thomas commiserates, speaking
about the presidents post-surgery recovery :
Nancy gave me my plan with 85 days blacked out. She
said there were too many moons converging at once and
the President couldnt travel. It was debilitating sitting
in the White House, watching the President sink lower
in the polls and knowing his judgements were being
made by Nancy and her astrologers (Kelly 1991: 487).
In addition to the immediate White House staff, the
astrologers control of Reagans schedule also affected
the presidents plane. In Nancy Reagans words to Joan
Quigley, do you realize you are ordering the time for
the takeoff of Air Force One? (Quigley 1990: 82),
23


while Quigley (82) herself claims, my control over the
departure times of Air Force One when the President
was aboard was absolute. To be in accordance with
the stars, the plane took off and landed at odd times,
which puzzled the media. Bill Plante of CBS said
[reporters] often wondered if there was any strategy
involved and were relieved to learn the obvious reason
was astrology (83).
Astrology also set the schedule for other official events. In Joan Quigleys
(1992: 15) words, The announcement of Anthony Kennedys nomination to the
Supreme Court was timed with a stopwatch.. All press conferences had to take place
at 8:00 Eastern Time at Quigleys behest (76), and the astrologer chose 1:20 p.m. for
one particular session of Congressional arm-twisting (78). Quigley had control
over the timing of news conferences (Cannon 1991: 687; Regan 1988: 359), foreign
policy speeches (Regan 1988: 368), and other public appearances (Regan 1988: 47).
For example, the San Francisco astrologer takes credit for scheduling Ronald
Reagans reelection announcement for January 29,1984 at 10:55 p.m. (Quigley 1990:
91), and Donald Regan (1988: 35) writes, After Mrs. Reagan cleared the date with
her Friend, the President decided to hold [a press conference] at 8 p.m. on
Wednesday, November 19 [1986].
Why did Nancy Reagan insist on such strict timing? According to Lou
Cannon (1991: 584), By 1985, Nancy Reagan had long become convinced that
Quigleys advice had protected her husband from a repetition of the assassination
attempt. In Nancy Reagans (1989: 47) own words:
My relationship with Joan Quigley began as a crutch,
one of several ways I tried to alleviate my anxiety about
Ronnie. Within a year or two, it had become a habit,
something I relied on a little less but didnt see the need
24


to change. While I was never certain that Joans
astrological advice was helping to protect Ronnie, the
fact is that nothing like [the 1981 assassination attempt
of] March 30 ever happened again.
Clearly, the First Lady was concerned about her husbands health, in fact so much so
that she allowed Joan Quigley to schedule the Presidents cancer surgery.
When Donald Regan (1988: 3) first heard that Reagans polyp removal would
take place on July 13,1985 instead of July 10, he writes:
I feared two things -- first, that President Reagans
condition was more serious than his wife had been able
to tell me over the telephone, and second, that the First
Lady was choosing the date for surgery in consultation
with her astrologer. Of the two possibilities the second
seemed the more likely.
Nancy Reagan seemed to have absolute faith in the
clairvoyant powers of this woman, who had predicted
that something bad was going to happen to the
President shortly before he was wounded in an
assassination attempt in 1981.
The clairvoyant herself claims, the fact that the cancer did not recur is due to the
excellent time I chose astrologically (Quigley 1990: 84).
The significance of allowing an astrologer to set the time of surgery is that the
Chief Executive was potentially at risk from the cancer for another three days, and
may have faced further medical complications by delaying the polyp removal. Where
this instance possibly could have harmed the President physically, another instance
probably harmed him politically. President Reagan had undergone prostate surgery in
the Fall of 1986 and was recovering when the Iran-contra scandal broke.
25


Donald Regan faults Nancy Reagans reliance on an astrologer rather than
himself or the president for Reagans difficulty in regaining public favor after the
Iran-contra disclosures (Cannon 1991: 176). Regan (1988: 68) claims that the
President needed to make some public statements regarding Iran-contra, but couldnt:
He hasnt had a press conference since November
nineteenth, I said. What about having one on January
twentieth?
No press conferences for at least three months.
Nancy, he has to talk to the press or it will look like
hes hiding. Weve penciled in a press conference
every four to six weeks after the one on January
twentieth.
No, Mrs. Reagan repeated. Absolutely not.
I assumed, too, that she had been talking to her Friend,
the astrologer.
What if your Friend is wrong? I would suggest. Mrs.
Reagan did not think so: her Friend had predicted the
Hinckley assassination attempt nearly to the day, had
foreseen the explosion of a bomb in the luggage
compartment of the TWA plane that was damaged in
flight over Greece, and had been right about other
things, as well, including a premonition of dire events
in November and December 1987 that is, the Iran-
Contra scandal (359).
In a similar conversation, Regan (1988: 28) reveals the implications of not
allowing President Reagan to speak about Iran-Contra:
My friend says its you know, its just wrong for him
to talk right now.
26


My God, Nancy, I replied. Hes going to go down
in flames if he doesnt speak up.
But she insisted that the timing was wrong, and
glancing down at the red days and yellow days marked
off on my desk calendar, I saw that from her point of
view she was correct.
The former Chief of Staff explains the ramifications of the astrologers not
letting the President make a public appearance:
Mrs. Reagans Friend had told her that January was a
bad month for the President -- any activity might
produce unhappy results. This prognostication had the
effect of immobilizing the President. His schedule was
in a state of chaos. Mrs. Reagan had canceled or
refused to approve a number of important appearances
(Regan 1988: 70).
A full month after the Presidents release from the
hospital, his schedule was still a dead letter because
Mrs. Reagans Friend had not provided a list of
auspicious days. The whole month, it appeared, was
inauspicious for the President (90).
On February 16, after consultation with her Friend,
Mrs. Reagan informed Bill Henkel that there could be
no press conference until March 19 (93).
Despite the clearly documented examples which Donald Regan gives in For
The Record, when President Reagan was interviewed in 1988 about the book, he
claimed that he did not ever plan his schedule around astrology (Congressional
Quarterly, May 21, 1988, p. 1411). In the Presidents wifes words:
At first Ronnie knew nothing about my conversations
with Joan. He didnt know that Mike Deaver and I
27


might have discussed changing a certain departure time
or an appointment, based on Joans advice. I wanted to
tell Ronnie about it, but I wasnt exactly dying to tell
him, and I kept putting it off. Then, one day, after Id
been talking to Joan on and off for quite a few months,
Ronnie walked into the bedroom while I was on the
phone to her.
Honey, what was that about, he asked. When I told
him, he said, If it makes you feel better, go ahead and
do it. But be careful. It might look a little odd if it ever
came out (Reagan 1989: 51).
Because Ronald Reagan denied ever having used astrology, some doubt may
remain as to whether the Reagans really relied on stargazers for advice. The first
section of this chapter shows how the revelation came about that the Presidents
schedule corresponded to astrological timing: first, Donald Regan divulged that an
astrologer set all the dates; then, Joan Quigley came forward as the aforementioned
stargazer; and, finally, Nancy Reagan confirmed that she had consulted with Quigley.
According to Mrs. Reagan (1989: 47), she first got in touch with the San Francisco
astrologer shortly after the assassination attempt, but, as the second section of this
chapter demonstrates, both Reagans involvement with astrology goes much back
farther than 1981.
The Forty-Year History of the Reagans
Involvement with Astrology
Bob Schieffer (1989: 183) provides the first evidence of just how long the
Reagans had relied on astrological advice:
The first ladys dependence on astrology caused a brief
sensation when it was first revealed in Donald Regans
memoirs in 1988, but to a few it had been known for
28


years. One Californian, whose friendship with the
Reagans went back to the days before they lived in the
governors mansion, said Mrs. Reagan had consulted
astrologers even then.
Donald Regan (1988: 14) concurs, writing:
Deaver told me that he had been dealing with
astrological input for a long time. Mrs. Reagans
dependence on the occult went back at least as far as
her husbands governorship, when she had depended on
the advice of the famous Jeanne Dixon. Subsequently,
she had lost confidence in Dixons powers.
According to Kitty Kelly (1991: 213), Nancy and Ronald Reagan both
consulted Jeanne Dixon during the gubernatorial days, although it is not clear how
much control the astrologer had over political decision-making:
Nancy had insisted that her husband meet privately with
Mrs. Dixon whenever he went to Washington, and each
time he sat down with the seer at a secret session in the
Mayflower Hotel, she promised him that he would
eventually live in the White House. He always returned
to Sacramento fortified by these visits.
I worked for Jeanne Dixon during those years and I
remember all the times she met Governor Reagan, said
Alice Braemer. He was never on her official schedule,
because she did not want people to know how deeply
involved in astrology the Reagans were. Nancy, too.
Several authors, among them Bill Boyarsky (1981: 16), have recounted how
Ronald Reagans gubernatorial inauguration corresponded to astrological timing.
Consequently, one or both Reagans must have been astrological devotees even before
the point at which Ronald Reagan took office:
His habit of reading the astrology column resulted in
one of the more farcical disputes at the beginning of his
29


governorship. He had decided to be sworn in as
governor at 12:10 a.m., his term beginning officially at
12:01 on January 2.
His reason: The law prescribes that at midnight it is
the end of the present administration. I hate to be a
pessimist but accidents may happen. I dont want
anything to interfere.
He also noted there were several football bowl games
on television on January 2, too, and didnt want to
interfere with those.
Former Governor Edmund Brown thought the hour
peculiar. My only guess is that its because he
believes in astrology. I understand he does, said
Brown.
Two astrologers agreed with Browns surmise. In San
Francisco, a local character, Gavin Chester Arthur, a
newsboy astrologer who was a grandson of Chester
Arthur, the Twenty-first President of the United States,
noted that Jupiter, the sign of kings and the symbol of
prosperity and fame, would be high in the sky at the
moment of the inauguration. I truly suspect that
Reagan was advised by an astrologer because no better
time could be picked, said Arthur.
Its not just coincidence, said Louise Huebner, an
astrologer in Los Angeles.
All this speculation made Reagan angry. He does not
believe in astrology, said Philip Battaglia, his first
executive secretary. He is not guided by the stars, nor
do we intend to have stargazers in the administration.
The inauguration was held at 12:01 a.m., a time with
less astrological significance.
30


While the Reagans were conferring with Jeanne Dixon at this time, another
astrologer, Sybill Leek, claims to have been the one to advise the governor to use a
part of the capitol that had never before for an inauguration, facing west, just after
midnight (Kelly 1991: 148).
Whether or not the Reagans did, in fact, consult with Sybill Leek, they
certainly had frequented other stargazers even before their days in Sacramento. Kitty
Kelly (1991: 147) writes, at the time, Reagans aides hurried to deny his reliance on
the zodiac. Most of them did not know then that Reagan and his wife were devoted
clients of Los Angeles astrologer Carroll Righter and secret devotees of Jeanne
Dixon.
As governor, Ronald Reagan had issued an official
proclamation of appreciation to Carroll Righter, which
Righter framed and hung in his front office. The
governor publicly acknowledged his interest in
astrology, especially that practiced by Righter, who
frequently visited the Reagans at home and at their
ranch (215).
Righter held regular zodiac parties, ... and photographs from his files show that the
Reagans were regulars (215).
Garry Wills (1987: 196) shows that Ronald Reagan himself confirmed his
belief in astrology:
Like many Hollywood stars, Reagan read and was
friendly with the astrological columnists: One of our
good friends is Carroll Righter, who has a syndicated
column on astrology. Every morning Nancy and I turn
to see what he has to say about people of our respective
birth signs.
31


Wills (1987: 196) adds that as early as 1953, before he became a politician,
while he was contemplating becoming a movie actor with MCA, Reagan was reading
Righters column:
On the morning of the meeting I looked, and almost
suspected an MCA plot: my word for the day read,
this is a day to listen to the advice of experts.
Cutting out the item, I walked into the meeting and,
without even saying hello, asked, are you guys the
experts?
At the time of the MCA deal, Nancy and Ronald were not married to each
other, but they were both actors. Nancy explains why she believed in astrology,
saying, Another reason I was open to astrology was that I have spent most of my life
in the company of show-business people, where superstitions and other nonscientific
beliefs are widespread and commonly accepted (Reagan 1989: 50). Lou Cannon
(1991: 583) writes that Nancys reliance on astrology ...reflected a superstitious
outlook also shared by Reagan, who believed his presidency had been prophesied by a
college teacher known for her psychic abilities. Reagan knocked on wood, threw salt
over his shoulder and carried a good-luck penny.
Perhaps because the Reagans had been actors and people in show business are
renown for being superstitious, both Nancy and Ronald came to believe in astrology.
They consulted with at least three astrologers and possibly as many as five (Kelly
1991: 570) during the period from the 1950s through 1988. Even at the end of his
second term, President Reagan denied ever having relied on astrology, when despite
the fact that when asked an entirely non-related question, he had said that his
gubernatorial inauguration of twenty-one years prior had not been timed in
32


accordance with the stars (Congressional Quarterly, May 21, 1988, p. 1411).
Regardless of whether Reagan admits his belief in astrology, the important question is
did astrology ever determine policy? The third section of this chapter shows that
Joan Quigleys influence over the Reagans helped bring about warming relations
between the Soviet Union and the United States.
Astrologer Joan Quigley Persuades
Reagan to Warm to the Soviets
In Reckoning With Reagan, Michael Schaller (1992: 171) describes how
Nancy Reagan and Joan Quigley influenced the presidents attitude:
President Reagan resisted Gorbachevs blandishments
longer than most Western leaders. By most accounts,
including her own, Nancy Reagan played an important
role in arranging a summit conference. She believed
that a relaxation of cold war tension would solidify her
husbands accomplishments. In a dangerous world,
she later remarked, it was ridiculous for the two
heavily armed superpowers to be sitting there and not
talking to each other. Mrs. Reagan found support for
this view from her astrologer, Joan Quigley.
Quigley later revealed that before the president agreed
to meet Gorbachev in Geneva, Nancy Reagan asked her
to interpret Gorbachevs zodiac. The astrologer
informed the First Lady that Gorbachevs Aquarian
planet is in such harmony with Ronnies ... theyll share
a vision. The Presidents evil empire attitude would
have to go. In any event, Nancy Reagan explained,
that while she and Quigley did push Ronnie a little,
he would never have met Gorbachev if he hadnt
wanted to.
33


Other sources confirm that Quigley was advising Nancy about the Geneva
conference, and through her, the president. In Bill Henkels words, [Nancy] even
had her astrologer do Gorbachevs chart (Kelly 1991: 451). When she did, Joan
Quigley (1990: 102) revealed, The comparison indicated that a powerful chemistry
would exist between these two great world leaders. The possibilities were
breathtaking! Before Geneva, I told Nancy that Gorbachev would be a voluble and
eager conversationalist (126). Why was the stargazer able to influence Reagans
attitude?
One possibility is that when Joan Quigley (1990: 60) was working as a
volunteer on the 1980 presidential campaign, she had advised Reagan not to make any
foreign policy statements on August 19, the day the candidate said he would
recognize Taiwan instead of China. Perhaps Nancy or Ronald took this blunder to
heart and decided to trust Quigleys foreign policy advice. For another explanation of
how astrology may have affected relations between the superpowers, Michael
Schaller (1992: 181) offers:
Sophisticates chuckled when astrologer Joan Quigley
revealed her role as informal adviser to Nancy and
Ronald Reagan. Before the president agreed to hold his
first summit with Gorbachev, as before other important
decisions, Mrs. Reagan asked Quigley to assure her
husband that the Soviet leaders star chart was in
harmony with his own. One is tempted to dismiss out
of hand this explanation of the end of the Cold War
until it is remembered that Stanislav Shatalin, one of
Gorbachevs leading economic advisers at the time,
shared the Reagans belief in astrology.
In the summits that followed, the Reagans astrologer continued to exert
influence over foreign policy, writes Hill (1990: 185).
34


The next summit at Reykjavik, Iceland in October,
1986 was sudden and ill-prepared.... The date of
Reagans departure was set, as were many of the
presidents appointments, after Mrs. Reagan consulted
with a West Coast astrologer. Donald Regan, President
Reagans Chief of Staff, described the incident as
follows: Mrs. Reagan also consulted with her Friend
as to the best day for the Presidential departure, and the
astrologer informed us that Thursday, October 9, was
the most auspicious date. We wrote in into the
schedule.
Quigley (1990: 73) herself takes credit for more than simply setting the date of the
summit. The President had asked Nancy to ask me about going to Reykjavik; he and
Shultz followed my advice to negotiate there as long and as hard as possible, and
following my advice they stayed later than planned.
The White House continued to follow Quigleys advice with subsequent
summits, letting the astrologer determine the timing, says Hill (1990: 10):
A footnote to these personal factors came with the
revelation by Donald Regan in his autobiography For
The Record that Nancy Reagans interest in astrology
influenced the presidents movements and their timing,
particularly the INF treaty in Washington in December
1987.
Donald Regan (1988: 486) expounds on how much Nancy Reagan and Joan
Quigley were able to influence negotiations between the United States and the Soviet
Union:
The First Lady's schedule was invioble [sic] to her. She
felt she needed to be present during the U.S.-Soviet
summit in Washington, which was scheduled to be held
a few weeks after her surgery. She dared not be
incapacitated because she had spent hours with her
astrologer planning the exact time the Intermediate-
35


Range Nuclear Forces Treaty should be signed, and
Nancy wanted to make sure everything went according
to the stargazer's plan.
This is how Quigley (1990: 12) summarizes her influence over U.S.-Soviet
relations:
I was heavily involved in what happened in the
relations between the superpowers, changing Ronald
Reagan's "Evil Empire" attitude, so that he went to
Geneva prepared to meet a different kind of Russian
leader and one he could convince of doing things his
way. Improved relations, glasnost, and perestroika,
may, in some small measure, have come out of this.
The White House Astrologer
Helps Shape Public Opinion
As the third section of this chapter shows, the Reagans astrologer influenced
more than just timing: she persuaded the President, through the First Lady, to
negotiate in good faith with the Soviets. Joan Quigley (1990: 121) herself claims
that in order to deal from a position of strength, Reagan had to ensure that Helmut
Kohl of West Germany would be reelected. In effect, the astrologer says, another
West German chancellor would not have allowed U.S. missiles to be placed in the
country. This chapters fourth section details how Joan Quigley defused Bitburg
(12), working with Nancy to persuade the President to downplay a wreath-laying
ceremony at a Nazi graveyard while maintaining a positive rapport with Kohl. Levy
(1996: 40) summarizes the event:
On May 5,1985, following an economic summit in
Bonn, West Germany, President Reagan made an
extremely controversial visit to a German military
cemetery in Bitburg, West Germany. This visit, which
was done at the request of German Chancellor Helmut
36


Kohl, overshadowed President Reagans entire visit to
Europe and the economic summit. ...The discovery that
forty-nine German SS soldiers ... lay buried at the
cemetery clouded the entire affair. ... Reagan insisted
that he had made a promise to Chancellor Helmut Kohl
on which he could not renege without jeopardizing
relations with Germany. The actual Bitburg visit lasted
only eight minutes, and the president sought to
compensate for the visit by stopping at the Bergen-
Belsen concentration camp site the same day.
Michael Deaver was ostensibly in charge of scheduling the trip, but, in Kellys
(1991: 436) words:
The First Lady had insisted that the timing of their
visits to the concentration camp and the cemetery be
synchronized with the stars, so Deaver submitted his
revised schedule to Joan Quigley. She insisted that the
trip to Bergen-Belsen be made at 11:45 a.m. on May 5,
1985 because of the positive position of the planets.
She said she picked 2:45 p.m. for the eight-minute
ceremony at Bitburg because her charts of the zodiac
indicated that the moon and Saturn in the third house
were propitious while Neptune on the angle of the
chart veiled the occasion and damned it.
The newsweeklies featured cover photographs of the
President laying a wreath at Bergen-Belsen, not at
Bitburg. That reinforced the First Ladys faith in her
astrologer, who had claimed that she would fix up the
Bitburg thing.
Complications arose when Quigley kept changing the timing for the later
ceremony. As Donald Regan (1988: 73) puts it, the Presidents trip to Bitburg was
plagued by inexplicable changes in scheduling that arose, as I subsequently learned,
from the astrologers warnings to Mrs. Reagan concerning possible threats to the
37


Presidents safety. To keep the 2:45 ceremony from happening too early, Nancy
Reagan followed Quigleys advice to instruct the presidents plane to keep circling
(Quigley 1990: 121).
The Bitburg incident serves not as an example of how the astrologer
influenced policy (Reagan still went through with the visit), but rather as an example
of how Quigley influenced public relations. Whether or not her claims are true that
astrological timing shaped the publics opinion of the ceremony, the astrologer helped
President Reagan keep his promise to Helmut Kohl using Nancy Reagan as an
intermediary. For the better part of six years, I was able to serve as the Teflon
(Reagan was called the Teflon President because detrimental labels would not stick
to him) until cosmic forces turned against Reagan with such virulence and for so long
a period that the Teflon years came to an end (Quigley 1990: 82).
Summary of Astrologys Influence
Over Reagans Decision-Making
Besides helping with the presidents public relations, the Reagans astrologer
convinced Nancy Reagan and possibly Ronald Reagan that the Soviets would be
amenable to discourse, and the stargazer maintained strict control over the
administration's schedule for six years. In her memoirs, Nancy Reagan (1989: 49)
writes:
I want to state one thing again, unequivocally: Joans
recommendations had nothing to do with policy or
politics ever. Her advice was confined to timing to
Ronnies schedule, and to what days were good or bad,
especially with regard to his out-of-town trips.
Joan Quigley (1990: 73) concurs that she set the presidents schedule and takes credit
for having done a good job.
38


There certainly is little question that the Reagans believed in astrology, as the
second section of this chapter shows. In fact, as Hill (1990: 10) recounts:
...The obsession was a deep and continuing one of the
president himself and stretched back over a forty-year
period. It was also a matter of public record: the
Federation of American Scientists had expressed their
concern about it in the 1980 presidential campaign
though Reagan at that stage denied the charge.
This chapters third section gives evidence that the Reagans astrologer
actually may have influenced policy as she persuaded Reagan to drop his evil empire
platform and entertain glasnost and perestroika. Perhaps the president had been
predisposed to talk to the Soviets without Quigleys advice, but as Nancy Reagan puts
it, she and her astrologer did push Ronnie a little (qtd in Schaller 1992: 171).
In the fourth section, Quigleys duties gain more latitude as she helps with
public relations in addition to her scheduling duties (though the way she persuaded
the Reagans that Gorbachev would be willing to talk may also be considered public
relations). Admittedly, the evidence is stronger that Joan Quigley set schedules than
it is that she influenced international relations.
In any event, the question remains: Did the Reagans use of astrology affect
national policy? It is safe to say that Joan Quigley controlled the presidents schedule
quite strictly. And why did White House officials allow this to happen? Donald
Regan (1988: 74) reiterates:
There was no choice but to humor the First Lady in this
matter. But the Presidents schedule is the single most
potent tool in the White House, because it determines
what the most powerful man in the world is going to do
and when he is going to do it. By humoring Mrs.
Reagan we gave her this tool or, more accurately,
39


gave it to an unknown woman in San Francisco who
believed that the zodiac controls events and human
behavior and that she could read the secrets of the
future in the movements of the planets.
Quite simply, the Reagans had made a policy of following astrological advice
when they were actors. When they entered state government, the couple continued
this policy, and when Ronald Reagan was elected president, astrological scheduling
became national policy.
40


CHAPTER THREE
ASTROLOGY AND THE OCCULT IN NAZI GERMANY
A few months before the outbreak of World War II, a
Swiss newspaper claimed: Nobody believes in
astrology more than Herr Hitler. The best clients of the
International Institute in London are the private
astrologers af Berchtesgaden. Every month they ask for
new astrological documents. This is because Herr
Hitler believes in astrology. And he proves it.... Before
striking, he chooses the most favorable time indicated
by the stars. At the time there was no International
Institute in London and no astrologues particuliers at
Berchtesgaden (Anderson 1995: 175).
Andersons quotation epitomizes the controversy surrounding astrological and
occult influences in Nazi Germany: some people claim that Adolf Hitler and his
minions followed stargazers advice, while some vehemently refuse that the Nazis
believed in astrology. In fact, notable members of the National Socialist regime
contradict themselves. Hitler speaks of mystic visions, (Suster 1981: 49) and gives
credit to an occultist for building the ideology for Nazism in Mein Kampf (Anderson
1995: 130), yet publicly eschews any belief in the stars (Fest 1970: 113). Another
Nazi luminary, Heinrich Himmler, imprisoned astrologers practicing publicly
(Anderson 1995: 137), yet employed private stargazers (221). A third member of the
German elite who practiced occult beliefs, Rudolf Hess, may have let astrologers
41


persuade him into attempting a separate peace with Great Britain (Hutton 1970: 26),
yet he denies ever having believed in astrology, despite evidence to the contrary (Bird
1974: 210).
This chapter seeks to enumerate the contradictions inherent in the Nazi
German regimes approach to astrological and occult influences. As with the Ronald
Reagan presidency outlined in the previous chapter, government officials denied that
astrology had any effect on their decision making, yet evidence shows that certain
policies arose from astrological bases. Firstly, the Nazis and their enemies overseas
both hired astrologers to advise them as to what advice the other side might be
receiving from stargazers and to convince neutral countries that the stars boded well
for one power and not the other. Secondly, claims Anderson (1995: 178) Germany,
along with much of the world, was swept up in astrology fever, which formed much
of the nations world outlook. As the third section of this chapter shows, Adolf Hitler
himself was subjected to many occult influences during his formative years, and these
inputs may or may not have made the Fuehrer believe in astrology. The fourth
section shows that Rudolf Hess, Hitlers heir designate, practiced many occult
disciplines and may have made political decisions based on astrology, yet claimed he
never did. The fifth section details how Heinrich Himmler built the Schutzstaffel (SS)
from astrological and other occult tenets, making the occult a matter of policy in the
SS. And, finally, the sixth section relates that the Allied Powers did not want Nazi
42


war criminals to be able to use their belief in astrological influences as a basis for an
insanity plea at Nuremberg after the war.
Germany and Britain Hire Astrologers
At the start of World War II, British officials believed that high-ranking Nazis
were relying on the advice of astrologers: So seriously were reports of Hitlers
belief in astrology taken in London in the early stages of the war that British
intelligence went so far as to employ their own astrologer, Louis de Wohl, a refugee
from Nazi Germany (Anderson 1995: 187). Angus Hall (1975: 128) and Michael
Howard (1989: 137) concur. In fact, A further report at this time quoting Dr.
Nicholas Murray Butler, president of Columbia University, said Hitler had a full-time
staff of five astrologers (Anderson 1995: 175). By 1943, however, the United States
and Great Britain no longer believed that Nazi Germany was taking astrological
advice seriously (224).
Yet, both the Allies and the Nazis still had an official use for astrology:
black propaganda, the practice of influencing public opinion overseas. Ken
Andersons passage above about the Swiss newspaper which describes Hitlers
astrological acumen stands as a good example of Nazi black propaganda aimed at
causing believers in the stars to side with the Fuehrer (Anderson 1995: 175). The
aforementioned Louis de Wohl changed jobs to black propaganda once the British no
43


longer were convinced that Hitler relied on astrologers for personal advice (188).
British Special Operations used de Wohl in the U.S. to swing Brazilian public opinion
toward the Allies. De Wohl claimed that Karl Krafft, Hitlers astrologer, had advised
the Fuehrer to invade the United States through Brazil in the spring of 1942;
President Roosevelt then claimed to have a map of the Nazi invasion plan (188). The
British even went so far as to create a fake Federation of Scientific Astrologers which
predicted Hitlers stars were on the wane during their 1943 convention (191).
In another example, Anderson (1995: 1991) writes, British Intelligence used
de Wohl to help destabilize the Vichy government of Martinique. The astrologer
wrote in his newspaper column that a prominent Vichy official serving in some
ramshackle tropical island would shortly go loopy. In the non-astrological
component of this deception, one week later a French naval officer who had
supposedly escaped from the island told U.S. reporters that the governor, Admiral
Georges Robert, had gone mad. Ultimately, the government of Martinique admitted
that Robert suffered from sunstroke.
While the Allies were practicing black propaganda, so were the Nazis,
according to Angus Hall (1975: 129). Karl Krafft, whom the British supposed to be
Hitlers astrologer, definitely was in a sense, as he translated and interpreted the
works of Nostradamus for the Nazi Propaganda Ministry. Kraffts How Nostradamus
Saw the Future twisted the sixteenth-century French astrologers work to show that
44


Britain was doomed (201), and Joseph Goebbels (Nazi Propaganda Minister) used
false Nostradamus prophesies to undermine French morale (201). To counterattack,
Louis de Wohl wrote his own Nostradamus Predicts the Course of the War and other
booklets which cast unfavorable horoscopes for Nazi leaders (201). These
publications then found their way to neutral countries to shape public opinion (201).
During the time both sides were practicing black propaganda, the Nazis
continued to try occult practices to affect the outcome of the war. Gerald Suster
(1981: 170) writes that Captain Hans Roeder headed the Pendulum Institute in Berlin
in 1942:
Month after month, clairvoyants and psychics sat with
their pendulums swinging over charts of the Atlantic,
endeavoring by this method to divine the whereabouts
of the British convoys. The results eventually proved
unimpressive, and yet another group of occultists
experienced the concentration camp.
How Astrology and the Occult
Gained Influence in Nazi Germany
Joseph Stalin commented on the Nazis use of the occult, saying it was ...
inconceivable that, in the twentieth century, heads of states should indulge in such
devilries (Suster 1981: 124). Assuming that Stalin is referring to occult practices
and not other devilries, one may ask, why did astrology gain a foothold in Germany in
the Nazi era? According to Ken Anderson (1995: 178), German preoccupation with
45


astrology was unparalleled by that of any other nation in 1931. Further, Gabriel
Weimann (1982: 280) points out, astrology becomes more popular during times of
great anxiety such as the Great Depression, providing a source of information, making
people feel better. Germany was in the midst of terrible economic times, and because
the countrys people felt they had been betrayed at the signing of the Treaty of
Versailles, they reached out to what Joachim Fest (1970: xii) calls a redeemer cult,
a body of charismatic leaders who would place the blame for Germanys problems on
outside influences.
Albert Speer (1970: 487), Hitlers architect, describes how the Nazi
government seized the countrys popular belief in astrology as a tool to form public
opinion:
In those turbulent times in which everyone was eager to
find reason for hope, rumors found fertile soil. On the
other hand, the populace had long since stopped
believing the newspapers. There was one exception:
During the closing months of the war a growing band of
desperate people began pinning their hopes on the
astrological sheets. Since these were dependent on the
Propaganda Ministry, for a variety of reasons they were,
as I learned from Fritzsche at Nuremberg, used as a tool
for influencing public opinion. Fake horoscopes spoke
of valleys of darkness which had to be passed through,
foretold imminent surprises, intimated happy outcomes.
Only in the astrological sheets did the regime still have
a future.
46


Historian Joachim Fest (1970: 114) provides an example of another factor
that contributed to bring believers in the occult to power in Germany:
It is only in a hopelessly disrupted society that a figure
like Heinrich Himmler can acquire political influence;
and only under a totalitarian form of government
offering universal salvation could he come to hold the
power that offered some prospect of putting his ideas
into practice.
To What Extent Did Hitler Himself
Rely on Astrology and the Occult?
As the fifth section of this chapter will show, Heinrich Himmler put occult
ideas into practice, but did Hitler himself do likewise? This third section shows that
the evidence is mixed; many authors claim that Hitler had no involvement with
astrology and the occult, while some writers even espouse that the Fuehrer was a
practicing black magician. The Chancellor (Hitlers earlier title) himself embodies
this contradictory situation, having formed the Nazi party from members of secret
societies while officially outlawing all occult organizations and fortune telling.
Whether or not Hitler actually let astrologers and other prognosticators guide his
decisions, astrology played at least a minor role in shaping the Fuehrers policies
during the Third Reich as astrologers circulated both through concentration camps
and within the inner circles of the Nazi elite.
47


Anderson (1985: 182) tells that one source who claims Hitler did not let the
stars guide him is one of his former secretaries, Christa Schroder:
There were popular rumors that Hitler allowed himself
to be guided by astrologers before reaching any
important decision. I must confess that I never noticed
anything of the kind and the subject was never
mentioned in conversation. On the contrary, Hitler
refuted this by his firmly held conviction that people
bom on the same day, at the same place, and at the
same hour, in no way had the same fate. Nevertheless,
the prediction made by a Munich fortuneteller in the
very first years of his struggle for power greatly
impressed him. It seemed her predictions had fulfilled
themselves in every respect. But Hitler only spoke very
ironically about this coincidence and considered the
whole thing a joke.
Hitler himself had denounced cult places, cult games, and cult rituals (Fest 1970:
113).
Yet, there is evidence that Hitler did believe in occult influences. In Ken
Andersons (1995: 234) words, From early in his life Hitler claimed to be led by an
inner voice, the voice, it appears, of Providence. I go with the assurance of a
sleepwalker on the way Providence dictates.. Gerald Suster (1981: 49) quotes
Hermann Rauschning, a member of the Nazi elite, as support for the Fuehrers
integration of the occult and official policy: It is impossible to understand Hitlers
political plans unless one is familiar with his basic beliefs and his conviction that
there is a magic relationship between Man and the Universe. Albert Speer (1970:
48


58) writes, I have witnessed quite a few examples of Hitlers superstitiousness,
while Suster (1981: 49) quotes Hitler: The aim of human evolution is to attain a
mystic vision of the Universe. Perhaps the best way to express Hitlers feelings
toward the occult is Andersons (1995: 216): Hitler, who was partial to omens,
even if his attitude toward astrology was scornful, must have been impressed, as,
indeed, he had by (Nazi-employed astrologer Karl) Kraffts previous accurate
prediction of the attempt on his life.
Despite where a particular author such as Jackson Spielvogel (1996: 24) who
has written about Hitlers affiliation with occult stands on the issue, he or she will
probably concede that the future Fuehrer formed his ideological core in his early years
in Vienna.
Hitlers years in Vienna served as the foundation for his
later experiences. Here he developed an ideology from
which he did not deviate for the rest of his life. He had
the conviction of the close-minded fanatic who sees no
need to pursue new ideas in response to new situations.
Adolf Hitler never doubted that the world could be seen
in only one way his way.
Hitler himself concurs, writing in Mein Kampf.
Vienna was and remained for me the hardest, though
most thorough, school of my life.... In this period there
took shape within me a world picture and a philosophy
which became the granite foundation of all my acts. In
addition to what I then created, I have had to learn little;
and I have had to alter nothing (qtd in Ravenscroft
1973: 25).
49


The theorists who feel that Hitler later created policy based on astrological and
other occult tenets claim that since he formed his world picture in Vienna and since
young Hitler associated with several occultists at the time, the future Fuehrer must
have fallen under the occultists influence. Besides personal contact with believers in
astrology and the occult, Hitler read much of what they had written, including the
Eastern religions, yoga, astrology, and hypnotism (Anderson 1995: 35; Suster 1981:
57; Gervasi 1974: 18). Hitler derived more ideals from occultists when he was
introduced to the Thule Society, a nationalist, secret society, tinged by occultism
(Fest 1970: 166).
The Thule Society was basically a continuation of the
Germanic Order, whose first lodge was established in
Berlin in 1912. Modeled after the organization of
Freemasonry, the aims of the Germanic Order were to
achieve German racial purity (a result of its volkisch
nationalism), attack the Jews, and establish Germans as
the leaders of Europe. In 1917, Rudolf von
Sebottendorf was made head of the order's Bavarian
province. To provide a cover for the order's activities,
he founded the Thule Society in January 1918. The
Thule Society essentially combined occult racial
philosophy (in the tradition of von Liebenfels) with a
belief in militant action. The Thule Society preached
Aryan supremacy and acted to achieve it. Although the
society functioned outwardly as a 'German studies'
group, it was actively involved in the counterrevolution
against the Bavarian Soviet Republic, which the Thule
Society felt was dominated by Jews (Spielvogel 1996:
26).
50


Ultimately, the Nazi party would grow out of the Thule society, ostensibly
deriving its racist policies as well as some of its occult beliefs, says Anderson (1995:
132). A number of occultists who were members of the Thule society may have
influenced Hitler at this time: Dietrich Eckart (Spielvogel 1996: 26); Lanz von
Liebenfels (Anderson 1995: 42); Alfred Rosenberg (Fest 1970: 166); Karl Haushofer
(Hutton 1970: 24); Walter Stein (Ravenscroft 1973: 59); Hans Horbiger (Suster
1981: 116); Eric Hanussen (Langer 1972: 34); and Elsbeth Ebertin (Anderson 1995:
180).
Hitler praises the mystic Dietrich Eckart on the last page of Mein Kampf: ...
I was also to count that man, one of the best, who devoted his life to the awakening of
his, our people, in his writings and his thoughts and finally in his deeds (qtd in
Suster 1981: 99). According to Anderson (1995: 130), Hitler later put a bust of
Eckart in his residence at Barlow Palace. Frank Gervasi (1974: 49) claims that
Eckart was largely responsible for the philosophical content of National Socialism,
while Fest (1970: 264) credits the occultist with having helped to shape Reich policy
toward women. Eckart, himself, writes:
Follow Hitler! He will dance, but it is I who have
called the tune! I have initiated him into the Secret
Doctrine, opened his centres in vision and given him
the means to communicate with the Powers. Do not
mourn for me: I shall have influenced history more
than any other German (qtd in Ravenscroft 1973: 91).
51


Jackson Spielvogel (1996: 23) claims that another mystic, however, may have
had more influence on Hitler:
Hitler's attitudes toward anti-Semitism were probably
most influenced by an ex-Catholic monk named Adolf
Lanz who called himself Lanz von Liebenfels.
Liebenfels founded the quasi-religious Order of the
New Templars, whose primary purpose was to foster
Ariosophical doctrines. Ariosophy was a combination
of occult ideas, German volkisch nationalism, and anti-
Semitism. Liebenfels established a New Templars
castle on the Danube in 1907 and proudly flew a
swastika flag over it. He wrote a series of occult works
that presented his Ariosophical philosophy.... That
philosophy was based on the supposed superiority of
the Ario-Germans. The Aryan was an exalted spiritual
being.... Liebenfels also propagated his occult racial
views in a magazine called Ostara, which was one of
the periodicals that Hitler read to enlighten himself on
the racial problem.
Anderson (1995: 41) says that astrologer and racist von Liebenfels became
Hitlers mentor in 1909, while the Kleins (1976: 14) detail the Ostara movements
influence over Hitler. Suster (1981: 48) claims to be quoting von Liebenfels on
Hitler when he writes: Hitler is one of our pupils.... You will one day experience
that he, and through him, we, will one day be victorious, and develop a movement
that will make the world tremble.
Famous for developing the concept of Lebensraum, or living space (which
the Nazis adopted as justification to invade countries east of Germany), Alfred
Rosenberg possibly first met Hitler through Dietrich Eckart at a Thule Society
52


meeting, according to Frank Gervasi (1974: 62). J. Bernard Hutton (1972: 22)
credits a different occultist, Dr. Karl Haushofer, with the lebensraum idea, but
concurs that members of the Thule society may have had an impact on young Hitlers
thinking:
Haushofer's theory embraced many weirdly varied
ideas. He believed in premonitions and the
supernatural, that geographical position, climate and
even the substance of the soil influences a country's
destiny and political relationships with other countries.
Lebensraum, Astrology, Mysticism and anti-Semitism
added to his mixed bag of unusual ideas and he tried to
weld them all into a crisp political and philosophical
plan.
To Hitler and Hess, Haushofer became the Oracle
whose opinions were sought and respected (24).
Eugene Bird (1974: 10), who interviewed Rudolf Hess (Hitlers deputy) directly,
writes: Hess himself regards this as a definite collaboration and it seems probable
that as a student of Karl Haushofer some of the ideas and concepts that he had
acquired of geopolitics found their way into the Nazi bible.
Other occultists who may have made an impression on Hitlers still-malleable
psyche included Walter Stein, Hans Horbiger, Eric Hanussen, and Elsbeth Ebertin.
Stein espouses: I am considered in some quarters to be a great authority on
occultism. Adolf Hitler is not the only person to whom I give assistance and advice
in these matters (qtd in Ravenscroft 1973: 59). Best known for his theory that fire
53


and ice are the elements that control the earths climate, Hans Horbiger may have
advised Hitler that the Russian winter of 1941/42 would be mild, advice that may
explain why Hitler ultimately tried to invade the Soviet Union at that time (Suster
1981: 166). Eric Hanussen may have taught Hitler how to use occult practices to
appeal to a mass audience (Langer 1972: 34). In addition, writes Langer (34),
Hanussen belonged to an occult group described by another member, von Wiegand:
When I first knew Adolf Hitler in Munich, in 1921 and
1922, he was in touch with a circle that believed firmly
in the portents of the stars. There was much whispering
of the coming of "another Charlemagne and a new
Reich." How far Hitler believed in these astrological
forecasts and prophecies in those days I never could get
out of Der Fuehrer. He neither denied nor affirmed
belief. He was not averse, however, to making use of
the forecasts to advance his popular faith in himself and
his then young and struggling movement.
i
The last of the astrologers and occultists who may have influenced Hitlers
outlook was Elsbeth Ebertin, who specialized in casting the future Fuehrers
horoscope. Ebertin made this prediction: It will turn out that recent events will not
only give this movement inner strength, but external strength as well, so that it will
give a mighty impetus to the pendulum of world history (Anderson 1995: 180).
Hitler replied, What on earth have women and the stars go to do with me (181)?
Ebertin then told a number of Hitlers followers that their leader would have very
54


critical aspects in November 1923, which is the month he began his four and one half
years in jail (181).
There is no way to be certain that Hitler fell under occult influences during his
rise to power, but once Hitler became German Chancellor, he publicly denounced
astrology and other occult practices (Suster 1981: 134; Anderson 1995: 137). The
reason for this disavowal may have been that Hitler was trying to conceal his personal
belief in astrology or that he no longer followed astrological advice (if, in fact, he
ever had). By 1934 public references to Hitlers horoscope ceased altogether,
probably as a result of a confidential directive to publishers from the Propaganda
Ministry. The veto also applied to the horoscopes of all the leading Nazis and any
kind of astrological speculation on the subject of the Third Reich (Anderson 1995:
181). The two authors cited in this paragraph, Gerald Suster and Ken Anderson, both
believe that Hitler had been influenced by occult practitioners, yet cracked down on
them once he had attained power.
They reconcile this apparent contradiction by claiming that Hitler was an
opportunist and a pragmatist.
Hitler was quite simply an opportunist who would and
did use whatever was in his grasp, including the occult,
if it would further his agenda, without affording such
ideas, beliefs, systems, trends, or ideologies either
respect or acknowledgement. Once their use had
passed they would be quickly dropped and quite
possibly banned and their adherents persecuted
(Anderson 1995: 234).
55


...the Fuehrer was a pragmatist, prepared to use
anything that would assist his success; to a pragmatist, a
theory is true if it works; as Hitler said, And in the last
analysis, success is what matters" (Suster 1981: 171).
Certain authors like Gerald Suster (1981: 107) go one step farther, claiming
that Hitler had been initiated into some kind of black magic ceremony by one or many
of the occultists with whom he had associated and that this initiation imbued the
Fuehrer with his charisma. For example:
The ideas contained in Nazism were, as we have seen,
derived from the writings of mystics and magicians like
Blatavsky, Chamberlain, List, and Liebenfels. The
Nazi Party was a creation of a magical Order, the Thule
Gesellshaft. The Fuehrer, himself, was a magician,
having undergone a mystical experience in Vienna, and
received instruction at the hands of the Thulist adept,
Dietrich Eckart. And, throughout the early 1920's, this
marriage between magic and politics continued
harmoniously.
Susters (1995: 121) other instances of alleged black magic include Hitlers
comments on the third eye (used to attain mystic visions) and the possibility that
Hitler changed the direction of the swastika from white magic to black magic (103).
The swastika was certainly an occult symbol, but this did not necessarily make Hitler
a black magician, as Spielvogel (1996: 29) writes:
Hitler chose the swastika as the official party emblem.
The swastika was an ancient occult symbol invoking
the power of the sun. It had been adopted in Germany
and Austria by occult volkisch groups as a symbol of
Aryan anti-Semitic movements. The Templars of Lanz
56


von Liebenfels, the Germanic Order, and the Thule
Society of Rudolf von Sebottendorf all had used it.
Spielvogel (1996: 136) summarizes what may be the most prudent conclusion
to draw from Hitlers supposed involvement with black magic:
This position is supposedly substantiated by numerous
claims: that Hitler possessed a considerable library of
occult books; that some people who had an early
influence on him, such as Lanz von Liebenfels and
Dietrich Eckart, were members of occult societies; that
the swastika and other symbols, especially those used
by the SS, had occult significance; and that the Thule
Society, responsible for establishing the German
Workers' Party, which Hitler joined and took over, was
an occult society. Based on the evidence these authors
present, it is impossible to know whether Hitler was
involved in occult practices or even whether such
involvement would have made any difference in his
life. But some of the comments he made in his nightly
monologues for example, his expounding on his
beliefs in Atlantis, lost continents, and Horbiger's
theory of fire and ice do reveal Hitler's familiarity
with the occult ideas fashionable in Germany in his own
time.
Certainly, one of the occult ideas popular in Germany before the war had been
astrology, but was the subject popular with the Nazi inner circle by 1945? Several
authors corroborate Hitlers indulgence in having his own and the Fatherlands
horoscopes read to him during the spring of 1945, just before Germany capitulated
(Anderson 1995 : 226; Suster 1981: 196; Bullock 1962: 781; Smith 1973: 173;
Dolan 1981: 205). All agree that Hitler was desperate for good news and the star
57


charts provided favorable omens. But, just as with other aspects regarding the
occults influence over Hitler, controversy surrounds the question as to how long the
Fuehrer had believed in astrology.
Dolan (1981: 205) claims:
For one, the Fuehrer had long been interested in
astrology, but it now seemed to be developing into an
obsession. He depended much on the advice of several
astrologers and showed an alarming reluctance to act
unless their predictions were favorable ones. As some
of his most hard-headed generals put it, astrology might
be an entertaining hobby but it had no place in the
running of a government and a war.
By contrast, as Suster (1981: 196) puts it:
The two Nazi leaders had never been keen astrologers
save when it suited them for propaganda purposes, but
now they were desperate for any sign whatsoever. The
sceptical Goebbels became a convert to the esoteric
sciences....
Again, the evidence is contradictory as to how long Hitler had believed in astrology.
More apparent contradictions follow when one examines Hitlers attitudes
toward Rudolf Hess and Heinrich Himmler, two high-ranking members of his
government who probably (Hess case) or definitely (Himmlers case) made political
decisions based on astrological and occult factors. Though Hitler at times claimed to
want nothing to do with occult influences in his government, still he did not get rid
of people close to him Himmler and Hess who were besotted by the occult
58


(Anderson 1995: 138). Hitler chastised Himmlers mysticism (Speer 1970: 112) and
Hess astrological interests (Anderson 1995: 213), yet as the next two sections of this
chapter will show, these two Nazi policy makers continued to set policy in accordance
with astrology and other occult guidance.
Astrologys Influence over Rudolf Hess
Rudolf Hess was Hitlers most closely-trusted associate, having joined the
German Workers Party (precursor to the National Socialist Party) in the early 1920s
and having helped Hitler write Mein Kampf while the two were incarcerated after the
Beer Hall Putsch of 1923 (Rees 1948: 10). The Fuehrer declared on September 1,
1939 that Germans should place blind trust in Hess as Hitlers successor-designate
(Fest 1970: 193). Ultimately it was Hess who signed into law the Nazi policy of the
Final Solution, or eradication of the Jews (141). Rudolf Hess enjoyed notable
influence over Nazi policy, partly due to his official position and partly because he
was personally close to Hitler. By extension, astrology may have enjoyed a certain
influence over Nazi policy, since, as many authors assert, Hess probably followed
astrology (Fest 1970: 193; Anderson 1995: 213; Hutton 1970: 21; Dolan 1981:
205; Bird 1974: 248).
On one particular, striking occasion, Hess supposed belief in stellar portents
shaped Nazi policy. Authors agree that on May 10,1941, Rudolf Hess flew from
59


Germany to Britain in order to try to negotiate a separate peace with the British to
assure that Germany would not have to fight a two-front war. Debate arises, however,
over whether Hess was operating under any kind of astrological guidance or occult
compulsion. While some historians claim that Hess followed dictates from occultists
like Karl Haushofer and Karl Krafft (Speer 1970: 211; Anderson 1995: 194), others
acknowledge only that Hess possessed an occult talisman when he landed (Manvell
1973: 213).
If, indeed, Hess relied on astrology to negotiate peace with the British, then
astrology influenced political policy. Furthermore, if Hitler and others had prior
knowledge of the flight, astrologys bearing on politics grows. In any event,
astrological beliefs definitely shaped Nazi policy, for after the British captured the
Nazi deputy, Hitler ordered the Aktion Hess, a crackdown on all astrologers,
fortunetellers and Gypsies (Anderson 1995: 137). This section of Chapter Two
outlines the events of Hess flight, shows that Hitler may or may not have been a
participant in seeking a separate peace with Britain, enumerates the evidence that
Hess did indulge in astrology and other occult practices, and details the influence
occultists had over Rudolf Hess during his career as Hitlers most trusted associate.
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Hess Flight to Britain
Joachim Fest (1970: 193) summarizes Hess flight:
In fact, the neglected deputy of the Fuehrer was already
preparing for the enterprise that dumbfounded an
incredulous world on May 10,1941. With a kind of
confused heroism he secretly flew to Britain in the
middle of the war with a personal peace proposal to the
Duke of Hamilton, about whom he knew nothing. The
essence of the plan was that Germany should be given a
free hand for its Lebensraum policies within Europe
and in return would guarantee the undiminished
continuation of the British Empire.
Manvell (1973: 94) writes, "It has been claimed that Hess, who was interested
in astrology, undertook his mission as a result of astrological influences." Ken
Anderson (1995: 215) believes that Hess took the advice of astrological practitioner
Karl Krafft to determine the timing of the flight and had Hitler's blessing, while J.
Bernard Hutton (1970: 21) agrees that Hitler took part in planning the flight. As
evidence that a stargazer guided the flight, Anderson (1995: 216) claims, first, that
the tenth of May was the one-year anniversary of Hitler's blitzkrieg, so it would have
been a good omen. Second, Hitler had trusted Karl Krafft's prediction of the first
bombing attempt on his life, so the Fuehrer would have continued to trust Krafft
(216). Krafft's own birthday was May 10, so as a good astrologer he would have
erected his own annual horoscope and seen "a conjunction of six planets in Taurus
combined with a full moon" and advised Hess that this would have been the best time
61


to make the flight, "before Hitler's power waned" (216). Hess' son, Wolf, claims that
Hitler planned the flight with his father (213).
As evidence that Hitler underwrote the plan, Hutton (1970: 68) offers:
General Bodenschatz wrote to a friend: "It was clear to
all of us that Hitler had hatched a plot with Rudolf
Hess. If Hess could convince Britain that Germany was
about to attack Russia, peace in the West might be
possible. Hess could bring off a coup which von
Ribbentrop had failed to achieve with diplomacy, and
Goering with his Luftwaffe. Everyone present in
Hitler's study that Sunday (after Hess' capture) was
convinced Hitler hoped to make peace with the West
and persuade the British Government to join Germany
in an attack upon Russia. Hitler was depressed by the
possibility his plot had failed."
Hess' historic flight to Britain was made with Hitler's
full knowledge and approval. The venture was
discussed endlessly before Hitler sanctioned it.
Roger Manvell (1973: 213) refutes Hutton's claim, though:
Hutton was quoted ... as saying that he had studied
transcripts of recorded conversations between the Nazi
leaders in which Hitler finally approved the plan. The
recordings were found in a Nazi headquarters in
Munich after the war, it is claimed, and have been
suppressed by the Allies for security reasons ever since,
and the original records are now at the West German
Ministry of Interior Affairs. We have found no one
among the many survivors who were in touch with
Hitler at the time who believes that he had any
knowledge of the flight.
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When Hess landed in Britain, he told his captors that Hitler had not known his deputy
had flown there (Rees 1948: 29), and in a direct interview while in prison in the early
1970's, Hess reiterated, "No, as I've told you, the Fuehrer didn't know anything about
it. He knew nothing of my plan" (Bird 1974: 202).
Hitler himself, cognizant of Hess' dependence on astrology and realizing the
implications of Hess' attempt to negotiate a separate peace, was extremely angry
when he heard of the flight (Manvell 1973: 94). In the words of the Fuehrer's
architect, Albert Speer (1970: 210):
What bothered [Hitler] was that Churchill might use the
incident to pretend to Germany's allies that Hitler was
extending a peace feeler. "Who will believe me when I
say that Hess did not fly there in my name, that the
whole thing is not some sort of intrigue behind the
backs of my allies?" Japan might even alter her policy
because of this, he fretted.
Hitler also worried that Italy might think he was making a separate peace with
England (Manvell 1973: 110).
It would be safe to surmise that Germany had to make overtures to the other
Axis powers following the Hess incident in order to convince Japan and Italy that
Germany had not betrayed them. Whether or not Hitler helped plan the mission to
Britain, Hess certainly affected international relations with his flight. Astrology, then,
influenced Nazi policy if, in fact, Hess used astrological advice to guide his decision
63


to negotiate with the British. A detailed explanation of Hess' occult practices and of
the influence occultists Karl and Albrecht Haushofer held over Hess follows.
Astrology and the Occult Influence
Hess' Decision to Flv to Britain
John R. Rees (1948: 13) quotes the psychological examination board in
charge of the Hess case when he describes Hess' association with the occult:
It would seem that Hess' interest in horoscopes and the
semi-occult, which had been spoken of in the Press,
began about the beginning of the war. He placed great
emphasis on the influence of the stars and on the
diagrams worked out for him by an elderly woman
fortune-teller, His actual flight to Scotland may have
been influenced by this, though he told us that in fact
the main deciding factor in bringing him on this flight
from Germany was that Professor Haushofer had
dreamed of him flying across the ocean.
Albert Speer (1970: 211) recounts firsthand how the Nazi inner circle felt
about why Hess attempted the mission:
Hitler put the blame for Hess' flight on the corrupting
influence of Professor Haushofer. Twenty-five years
later, in Spandau prison, Hess assured me in all
seriousness that the idea had been inspired in him in a
dream by supernatural forces.
Hess first underwent Haushofer's tutelage when the future deputy enrolled in
Munich University. In Rees (1948: 9) words, "This brought him under the influence
of Professor Karl Haushofer, whose influence from this time on was to dominate
64


much of his philosophy and his thought, and eventually,... was to be responsible for
his flight to Scotland." Hutton (1970: 23) offers, "It is probable that Haushofer
possessed psychic powers. He frequently had premonitions and acted upon them. He
was often right and this greatly impressed Hess who began to believe that Haushofer
was 'The Man Who Will Save Our Country."' Dr. Graham, who performed the initial
mental evaluation of Hess in England, writes, "Hess had great faith in Haushofer,
whom [sic] he considered possessed the gift of second sight" (Rees 1948: 18).
While there is little doubt that Karl Haushofer influenced Rudolf Hess greatly,
a valid question arises: in what way, if any, did Haushofer affect Hess' decision to
travel to Scotland? Roger Manvell writes that Karl Haushofer and his son, Albrecht,
tried to arrange a rendezvous with the Duke of Hamilton, a British noble whom they
believed to be closely associated with Winston Churchill and King George. The
Haushofers had met the Duke at the 1936 Berlin Olympic games and felt they could
arrange a liaison between the Englishman and Hess in Lisbon, but the plan fell
through (Manvell 1973: 96). Subsequently, says Eugene Bird (1974: 248), the
Haushofers convinced Hess that when he landed in Britain, the Duke of Hamilton
would be prepared to negotiate. When Bird (248) asked Hess personally, "Are you
saying, then, that Hitler gave you a measure of approval to make inquiries to find a
peace-contact through Albrecht Haushofer?" Hess replied, "Yes. That is true."
65


It is certainly true that the Haushofers influenced Hess and that they were
involved in the occult. As shown in the previous paragraphs, Hess may have been
attracted to Karl Haushofer because of the professor's psychic powers, so the occult
and specifically astrology may have influenced Hess' attempt to influence
international relations. As further evidence of the occult's weight in this decision,
Anderson (1995: 212) offers that when Hess landed in Scotland, he was "wearing a
variety of occult symbols." Manvell (1973: 381) adds that Hess carried an elixir
from a Tibetan monastery for his gall bladder condition.
Other Evidence of Hess' Involvement
With Astrology and the Occult
Fest (1970: 192) notes the Tibetan elixir and shows further evidence that Hess
indulged in occult practices regularly:
[Hess'] hunger for faith, which took its pretexts and
stimulants where it could find them, drew additional
satisfaction from the pseudo-sciences and occult
wisdom that flourished upon the contempt for reason
energetically fostered by National Socialism. He was
convinced the stars ruled human destiny, had diagrams
worked out for him by an old soothsayer, and devoted
himself earnestly to the tortuous efforts of the
practitioners of terrestrial radiations, animal magnetism,
pendulum diagnosis, and the various means of
foretelling the future.
Hess slept with twelve large magnets under his bed and one suspended above
in order to draw harmful substances from his body, according to Hutton (1970: 112).
66


He also "believed1 in herbs and homeopathic treatment, the influence of the stars upon
his life, of Yoga, and mysticism" (112). Anderson (1995: 215) and Fest (1970: 193)
agree that Hess and his wife, Ilse, relied on an astrologer for six years while they were
trying to conceive their son, Wolf. During this same period, James Leasor recounts,
Hess believed that a summer with many wasps portended that a preponderance of
male children would be bom that year. When several wasps became stuck in a honey
jar during a picnic, Rudolf Hess washed off the insects and dried them, a sign of the
"strength of his superstitiousness" (qtd in Manvell 1973: 67).
Was Hess superstitious enough to let his belief in the occult guide political
decisions such as the flight to Britain? While there is ample evidence that Hess relied
on astrology and that the Haushofers, astrological practitioners, affected Hess' actions
greatly, Hess, himself, denies these influences in Birds (1974: 210) account:
No.: It is not true that I am especially interested in
astrology. I never asked an astrologer to read my
horoscope; in fact, I have never let myself be influenced
by an astrologer. I know nothing about any such dream
by Haushofer. If this were the truth, I would most
certainly have remembered it. I never at any time
regulated my life, or decided political action, by
horoscopes. Even if Haushofer had written or said such
a thing it would not have been the deciding factor in my
decision to fly. I would not have been influenced by
this.!
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The Aktion-Hess: Germany Arrests Astrologers
In any event, whether or not Hess really did use astrology for advice, the
perception that he did nevertheless created political policy. Referring to the "Aktion-
Hess," the crackdown on astrologers following Hess' flight, Anderson (1995: 212)
writes, "Rudolf Hess believed deeply in astrology and other aspects of the occult, yet
his actions led to widespread suffering among astrologers.". "Hitler declared that
Hess in his mental illness had consulted astrologers and healers instead of orthodox
and recognised physicians" (Rees 1948: 2). "Several hundred astrologers, occultists
and members of secret societies were rounded up by the Gestapo and questioned to
establish if they knew Hess or other leading members of the Nazi Party. In June
1941, the public practice of the; occult arts, astrology, fortune telling, and psychic
powers was banned by the Nazis" (Howard 1989: 137).
Manvell (1974: 131) sums up this instance of how belief (or, at the very least,
perceived belief) in astrology affected policy:
This represents the final face-saving act on behalf of the
Party and the regime. The astrologers became, like the
Jews, the scapegoats. They were represented as driving
Hess out of his mind. Most of the Aktion Hess arrests
took place on June 9,1941. On 6-7 June, Bormann had
issued a decree to Gauleiters aimed not only against
astrologers but faith-healers, fortune-tellers,
clairvoyants, graphologists, and even Christian
Scientists and Rudolph Steiner's Anthroposophists in
fact,; all practitioners, whether working professionally
for money or as amateurs without gain. All these
people were held to be actual or potential enemies of
68


the Reich. At the same time, their libraries were
confiscated, and the circulation of occult literature was
forbidden.
Ironically, where public astrologers were suffering for the actions of a leading
Nazi official, another member of the National Socialist elite was practicing the occult
and indulging in astrology. Even though Hitler denounced occult devotees, the
Fuehrer tolerated Heinrich Himmler and his SS, an organization steeped in occult
ceremonies and beliefs. This section of Chapter Two has shown that Rudolf Hess
may or may not have allowed astrology and the occult to influence Nazi policy
directly, but in any case, astrology and the occult definitely affected Germany's
internal and international actions. The next section demonstrates that Himmler's
reliance on the supernatural affected Nazi Germany in similar ways.
Heinrich Himmler and the Occult Traditions of the SS
There is contention surrounding the other two Nazis, Adolf Hitler and Rudolf
Hess, who may have utilized astrology and the occult. Some authors claim strong
supernatural influences, while others deny any. With Heinrich Himmler, however, no
one seems to dispute the evidence that the head of the Schutzstaffel, or SS,
participated avidly in the occult. Himmler indulged in various forms of occult
practices, including astrology, and, again, astrology and the occult did produce an
effect on public policy in the regime.
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The manner in which the occult affected Nazi politics in Himmler's case
revolves around his SS organization, originally created to be Hitler's personal
bodyguard, evolving, as Fest writes, to encompass "economic, ideological, military,
scientific and technical spheres, as well as those of agrarian and population policies,
legislation, and general administration." Ultimately, claims Suster (1981: 185), the
SS would be responsible for millions of deaths:
In their determined drive to bring about the New Order,
the SS murdered 14,000,000 men, women, and
children: roughly 6,000,000 Jews, 5,000,000 Russians,
2,000,000 Poles, 500,000 Gypsies, and 500,000 others,
including nearly 200,000 non-Jewish Germans and
Austrians. This list does not include the millions who
were subjected to slave labour, or who suffered through
torture or unspeakable degradation.
The SS tremendously shaped life in Germany and outside her borders, yet
Himmler wished the organization to have even more influence. Building on occult
traditions, Himmler wanted the SS to grow into its own state whose constitution
would be based on mythological tenets (Suster 1981: 181). In the words of Joachim
Fest (1970: 114):
In its aims the SS went far beyond all the overt
considerations of militant political groupings. The goal
of the SS was to permeate and dissolve the old order,
and it was also to be the hard core of an imperial
dominion aiming at "orgainising Europe economically
and politically" on a basis that would destroy all pre-
existing boundaries with the Order in the background.
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The "Order" to which Fest refers was an occult order which will be described in the
following paragraphs.
Suster (1981: 180) depicts Himmler's Black Order, detailing its occult
foundation:
[Wewelsberg Castle in Westphalia] was the nerve
centre of the Black Order, where its most sacred and
secret rites were performed by its greatest initiates. For
the broad mass of SS men, there was a compulsory
pagan religion based upon these rites which was
derived from the occultism of List and von Liebenfels.
The SS celebrated the festivals of the Nordic pagans,
the high point of the religious year being the favourite
festival of occultists, the Summer Solstice: Christmas
was frowned upon unless celebrated in a Nordic
manner. Pagan rites replaced the Christian ceremonies
of baptism and marriage, which latter was thought by
Himmler to be "the Satanic work of the Roman
Catholic Church."
According to Anderson (1995: 133) and Fest (1970: 113), Himmler drew on
occult traditions established among the Freemasons, Knights Templar, Teutonic
Knights, the Order of the Garter, and the Fellowship of the Round Table. Suster
(1981: 185) describes the SS members, saying, "They were the warrior elite of a new
civilisation immeasurably superior to the old, the high priesthood of the New Age, the
standard bearers of the coming Superman. Their leaders were magicians who had
formed alliances with the mystic Tibetan cities of Agarthi and Schamballah, and had
mastered the forces of the living universe."
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Indeed, says Suster (1981: 181), Himmler wished to translate his ideal
organization replete with supermen into its own model state. "By 1941, the SS had
virtually become an independent state within the Third Reich. SS men were not
subject to any jurisdiction other than their own courts: they were forbidden to
converse with non-initiates unless circumstances made this essential...." In March
1943, Himmler detailed how he would build the SS state if given the opportunity:
At the Peace Conference, the world will be appraised of
the resurrection of the old province of Burgundy,
formerly the land of the arts and sciences, which France
has reduced to the role of an appendix preserved in
spirits of wine. The sovereign State of Burgundy with
its own army, its own laws and currency and postal
system, will be the model SS state. It will comprise
French Switzerland, Picardy, Champagne, the Franch-
Comte, the Hainaut and Luxembourg. The official
language, naturally, will be German. The Nationalist-
Socialist Party will have no jurisdiction over it. It will
be governed by the SS alone, and the world will be
astonished by and full of admiration for this State in
which the ideals of the SS will be embodied (181).
According to Suster (1981: 181), this State of Burgundy was to follow the
example of the Jesuits who had formed their own state in Paraguay in the seventeenth
century. Like the Jesuits, the SS would be subject to no temporal jurisdiction, would
pledge strict obedience to one figure (Fuehrer instead of Pope) and would protect
themselves against outside prying. "Not surprisingly, Hitler used to compare
72


Himmler to Ignatius Loyola, while Karl Ernst, leader of the SA (Stormtroopers),
referred to him as the 'Black Jesuit'" (181).
Himmler obviously was not able to fulfill all of his desires, yet he did
establish a firm occult groundwork for the SS with its far-reaching influence over
German policy, as Graber (1978: 87) recounts.
His chief work was the establishment at Wewelsberg of
a castle which reflected the reading he had done on
King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Here
the chiefs of the SS were compelled to sit in the
company of their Grand Master for hours of
contemplation and meditation. If an
Obergruppenfuehrer were to die, an urn containing his
ashes was placed on the appropriate pedestal. The
smoke was directed upward into the vents in the ceiling
so that those assembled could watch the spirit ascend
into a type of Valhalla.
Other authors affirm the manner in which the occult permeated the SS
headquarters at Wewelsberg. For example, only twelve guests were allowed to
accompany Himmler at the table, in accordance with King Arthur's tradition (Fest,
1970: 113). Also, Himmler forced his underlings to participate in occult rituals
including one called the Stifling Air (Suster 1981: 178). The head of the SS required
its members to discuss mythological gods (Wykes 1972: 61) and to prepare
themselves for the coming of a Teutonic race who would dominate the world
(Briffault 1947: 67). Himmler encouraged SS men to conceive children in
graveyards where Nordic people were buried (Wykes 1972: 132), prescribed a
73


breakfast of leeks and mineral water for his officers (Fest 1970: 113), and created his
own pagan marriage ceremony (Graber 1978: 88).
Fest (1970: 113) comments on what purposes this adherence to occult rituals
might have served. He suggests that the rites conferred special distinction on the
participants, placed them under special obligation, "overwhelmed those present with a
melancholic shudder at [Himmler's] innate demonism" and inspired "those states of
rapture which are easily transformed into brutal and merciless violence." If, indeed,
the ceremonies were effective, then here is another example of how the occult
affected policy as thousands of SS troops received carte blanche to carry out the
atrocities of the war.
Once he had anchored himself in a position of power, Himmler had the means
to pursue his interest in the occult unfettered. Besides participating in the bizarre
practices mentioned above, the head of the SS was free to create research bodies to
investigate astrological and occult matters. In Spielvogels (1996: 107) words:
Himmler established a department in the SS known as
the Ahnenerbe, the Ancestral Heritage Organization.
Its task was to investigate all aspects of ancient German
tradition. It conducted "research" into earth mysteries
by studying the connection of race with house design;
the occult principles of church bells; and runes, a form
of ancient German script believed to possess magical
properties.
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Suster (1981: 182) details more of the operations of the Ahnenerbe:
These researches ranged from strictly scientific
activities to the practice of occultism, and from
vivisection practiced on prisoners to espionage on
behalf of the secret societies. When the Germans failed
to damage Oxford (in the blitz), the Ahnenerbe
immediately investigated what they believed to be the
magically protective powers of the city's cathedral bells.
Under [Hermann Wirth's] leadership the Ahnenerbe
(Ancestral Heritage Department) recruited every expert
on occultism whom it considered useful from the debris
of the magical Orders which the Nazis had banned.
By recruiting occult refugees, Himmler was making policy based on
supernatural beliefs. He essentially set a precedent saying that astrologers and
occultists who worked for the state would be protected, but those who freelanced
would be incarcerated. Anderson (1995: 132) believes that Himmler founded the SS,
intending it to become "the biggest and preferably only secret society in Germany."
Suster (1981: 175) concurs, writing that Himmler wished to replace volkisch
(popular) occultism with his own secret society, and Himmler himself stated, "We
cannot permit any astrologers to follow their calling except those who are working for
us. In the National Socialist state astrology must remain aprivelegium singulorum. It
is not for the broad masses" (175). Himmler had effectively created a policy based on
astrological belief.
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Himmler's belief in reincarnation formed the basis for another policy, Fest
(1970: 113) claims. "With naive certainty, Himmler considered himself the
reincarnation of Heinrich I, who had done battle with the Hungarians and Slavs"
(113). "In 1936, on the thousandth anniversary of King Heinrich's death, [Himmler]
swore a solemn oath to continue the Saxon monarch's 'civilising mission in the East'"
(Suster 1981: 176). "He believed that the life styles of the old Germanic tribes lived
on in the SS. His favorite historical character was Henry I of Saxony who had
conquered the Slavs" (Graber 1978: 88). As the embodiment of Henry I, Himmler
felt he had to re-conquer the Slavic peoples to the east; again, supernatural belief
determined policy.
One figure who knew Himmler quite well found a way to exploit the
Reichsfuehrer's tendency to let occult beliefs guide his decisions. Felix Kersten
served as the masseur to a few of the Nazi elite and found two ways to manipulate
Himmler: through massage and through astrology. Himmler suffered from
indigestion, which Kersten alleviated on the grounds that Himmler would release a
Jewish prisoner from a concentration camp following each treatment, as Anderson
(1995: 224) recounts. Kersten also formed a relationship with Wilhelm Wulff,
Himmler's personal astrologer (Suster 1981: 175). "Himmler was so impressed by
Wulff that during the last months of the war he seldom took any steps without first
consulting his horoscope'" (qtd in Anderson 1995: 221). Knowing this, Kersten had
76


Wulff draw up horoscopes to show Himmler that if he released the Jews, the World
Jewish Congress would back him in confrontations with the Allies after the war
(223).
Wulff and Kersten continued to maneuver Himmler based on his astrological
faith. In the spring of 1945, the two created a plot to have Himmler overthrow Hitler,
using astrology and specifically the prediction of "a mysterious death for Hitler before
May 7" to influence the head of the SS, says Anderson (1995: 223). Himmler
followed through, and as part of the plan, contacted Swedish diplomat Count
Bemadotte on April 23,1945, and said he would capitulate on the western front to
save as much of Germany as possible from the Russians (222). Hitler learned of the
plot on April 29 and wanted Himmler arrested as a traitor, but Wulff advised
Himmler to go into hiding and he was eventually captured by the Allies (223).
Himmler serves as the best example of how astrological and occult beliefs and
practices influenced policy in Nazi Germany. There is no question that Himmler did,
in fact, immerse himself in the occult, and it is clear that he made political decisions
based on his faith. Although authors disagree regarding occult determinants over
other Nazi leaders, they concur about Himmler, who founded the SS based on
supernatural beliefs and who insisted that policy be conducted accordingly up until
the Nazi regime collapsed.
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The Allies Refuse to Allow Belief
In Astrology and the Occult
As a War Trial Defense
"Churchill was most insistent that the occultism of the Nazi party 'should not
under any circumstances be revealed to the general public' in the years immediately
following the war" (Anderson 1995: 78). According to Michael Howard (1989:
140), the Allies suppressed the fact that the Nazis had been using the occult because
they did not want supernatural beliefs to serve as part of an insanity defense in the
Nuremberg War Trials. Rudolf Hess, for one, did try to feign mental illness, but did
not convince the psychological evaluators (Bird 1974: 34).
Summary of Chanter Three
The evidence is mixed as to how much influence astrology and the occult held
over decision-making in Nazi Germany. Historians disagree whether or not Hitler
and Hess relied on astrological advice to guide them, but they agree that Himmler was
a devout believer. There is no doubt that the leading Nazis circulated among
occultists during their formative years, and some claim that Hitler, Hess, and
Himmler translated this early contact into a world view which ultimately shaped
policy. Since Germany was caught up in "astrology fever" (Anderson 1995: 178),
the totalitarian Nazis ultimately had to address the astrological issue if they were to
maintain complete control.
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One Nazi policy based on astrology, namely propaganda based on stellar
predictions, certainly sought to gain control of astrological believers, both in
Germany and abroad. Astrology became a political tool. Wilhelm Wulff and Felix
Kersten used astrology to shape policy when they persuaded Himmler at the end of
the war to act based on astrological advice. Himmler himself made official policy
when he avowed to let only Nazi state-sanctioned astrologers practice, and Hitler let
astrology guide decision-making when he arrested all of Germany's fortunetellers
after they had supposedly guided Rudolf Hess to make a separate peace with Britain.
In several cases in Nazi Germany, astrology played a role in determining political
policy.
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CHAPTER FOUR
INDIRA GANDHI
Most Indians are devout believers in destiny, in the
cosmic chakra which spins out the threads of an
individuals life from the moment of birth, or maybe
even before conception. For Indians -- or Hindus, to be
precise -- life is preordained, and destiny is often a
function of astrology. Much is written in the stars.
Indira Gandhi was no exception to this tradition. She
steadfastly believed in astrology all her adult life.
(Gupte 1992: 171).
Indira Gandhis biographers almost universally agree that the former Prime
Minister of India believed in astrology. They may debate the devoutness of her
belief, the degree to which swamis and astrologers influenced her thoughts and
actions, but all the writers who knew Indira Gandhi well enough to publish their
experiences with her recount incidents in which Mrs. Gandhi sought astrological
advice. In contrast to the information regarding the Reagan presidency and the Hitler
regime, evidence about Indira Gandhis supernatural beliefs tends not to contradict
itself: no one (including Gandhi herself) claims that she did not accept astrological
advice.
What is more difficult to ascertain, however, is the degree to which Gandhi
based political decisions on astrology. More than one author claims that Indira
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Gandhi made a habit of relying on questionable advisors, some of whom were swamis
and mystics (Moraes 1980: 154; Jayakar 1992: 221; Masani 1976: 278). Most
notable among the Prime Ministers advisors was her son, Sanjay, the only person,
according to Pupul Jayakar, whom Gandhi really trusted (India Today, October 15,
1992, p. 58). When Sanjay died in 1980, Indira Gandhi appears to many to have
become even more superstitious than she had been and certainly fell more under the
spell of mystics, perhaps partly because these same spiritual advisors had foretold that
tragedy would befall her son (Jayakar 1992: 327; Sahgal 1982: 229; Gupte 1992:
457). There are few specific examples in which Gandhi made political use of
mystical advice aside from timing issues, yet as the Reagan chapter shows, timing
does affect political policy.
So does the way in which a political leader is perceived by his or her
constituents. Both Reagan and Hitler felt it necessary to deny their governments
involvement with astrology because the nations they ruled generally discounted
astrologys validity. India, on the other hand, is a country steeped in astrological
tradition (Braha, 1986, p. x), and it may be safe to say that Indian political leaders are
expected to heed guidance from astrologers (Ram 1984: 59; Jayakar 1992: 221).
Early in her career, Indira Gandhi may have claimed not to rely on astrologers,
probably because she wished to continue Nehrus policy of secularism (Masani 1976:
277; Malhotra 1989: 217), but later Gandhi allowed astrologers greater access to
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herself (Jayakar 1992: 221; Moraes 1980: 157) and no longer disavowed using their
advice {India Today, October 15,1992, p. 61).
This chapters first section shows evidence that Indira Gandhi may have
believed in astrology as early as the mid 1960s, and that by the early 1980s her
belief was clearly demonstrable. The second section describes the prevalence of
astrology in India; many Indians, including political officials, follow stargazers'
predictions. Finally, the third section lists political decisions that Gandhi and other
Indians may have made based on astrological advice.
Accounts of Indira Gandhis Belief in Astrology
Naturally, before one can show that a political leader based decisions on
astrological guidance, it must be clear that the official did, in fact, believe in
astrology. Pranay Gupte (1992: 171) claims that Indira Gandhi steadfastly believed
in astrology all of her adult life, and other authors present examples of Gandhis
belief at various points during her political career, but to be fair, evidence to the
contrary must be presented, too.
Inder Malhotra (1989: 217) writes, she was vehement in denying that she
either believed in superstition or had faith in astrology. In 1971 she had gone so far
as to declare that she did not even believe in God. Malhotra follows this statement,
though, with, but her reliance on astrologers, soothsayers and holy men was well
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known (217). She knows that religiosity is incompatible with a modem and
scientific image, and she has always denied that she is superstitious or mystical,
claims Zareer Masani (1976: 278), yet the author goes on to say, she used to keep in
touch with the Mother (a French mystic) at the Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry and
was reputed to have received her benediction (278). It appears that one specific
incident in which Mrs. Gandhi rejected an astrologers advice involved P.M.
Dhumals insistence that her son, Sanjay, should be sent as far away as possible
(Jayakar 1992: 221). The author does not claim, however, that Gandhis refusal
arose from a lack of belief, and in fact shows that by early 1980 the Prime Minister
was no longer a rebel against superstition and tradition; in the past she would have
defied the stars, but now she was wary, preferring to tread with caution (311). Even
if Indira Gandhi had at one time been a rebel and had discounted astrological
advice, she certainly grew to accept stargazers predictions by the end of her career.
What is more likely, however, than the rebel scenario is that Indira Gandhi
always kept a place in her heart for guidance by mystics even though Indias
government officially practiced no particular religion or belief. Jayakar (1992: 137)
writes that after three weeks of being Prime Minister in 1967, [Gandhi] was wary of
Nanda, who was in a thrall to his astrologers. Six years later:
During the drought of 1973 one of the [Aurobindo
Ashram] disciples wrote to the Prime Minister
suggesting she request the Mother to ask Sri Aurobindo
for rain. Far from dismissing such a preposterous idea,
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she replied politely: I am grateful to the Mother for
graciousness towards me. Naturally, in a matter of such
importance to the country, any help which the Mother
can give will make a great difference. (Masani 1976:
278).
Then, in 1975, when a swami foretold that the Prime Minister would be cleared of
campaign malpractice, Indira Gandhi, who had increasingly become enamored of
astrology and mysticism, seemed reassured by this prediction (Gupte 1992: 432).
Gandhi continued to believe in astrology even while dropping the policy of
secularism two years later, according to Sahgal (1982: 227):
Mrs. Gandhi is not a traditional Hindu, and her defeat in
the 1977 election did not account for the change of
behaviour that took her to a succession of temples and
shrines. Most Hindus, regardless of Westernization,
plan important events by horoscopes. Her pilgrimages
made it evident that her stars portended ill for her
family. Before she moved into the official residence as
prime minister in early February 1980, priests from
Varanasi conducted eight-day religious rites. During
her first thirty-eight days in office, she worshipped at
about a dozen shrines from Jammu in the north to Tamil
Nad in the south.
The thirty-three months between her 1977 defeat and her 1980 reelection do
seem to have had a profound effect on Indira Gandhi and, according to various
sources, appear to have strengthened her belief in astrology (Gupte 1992: 457;
Jayakar 1992: 283; Moraes 1980: 256; Sahgal 1982: 227; India Today, October 15,
1992, p. 61). During this same period, Gandhi grew more and more suspicious of her
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advisors and came to rely on her son, Sanjay, for emotional support and advice (India
Today, October 15, 1992, p. 61 and 62; Jayakar 1992: 327; Moraes 1980: 312).
When Sanjay died on June 23,1980, the Prime Ministers belief in astrologers and
other mystics solidified (Gupte 1992: 457; Jayakar 1992: 327; Moraes 1980: 256).
Specific examples of Gandhis reliance on astrologers follow, as do instances of
Sanjays influence over her. The two cases are not necessarily related; none of the
authors cited suggests that Sanjay encouraged his mother to engage in mystical
practices, yet, as Dom Moraes (1980: 312) puts it, Indira Gandhi increasingly began
to rely on questionable advice:
The absence of trust, the frequency with which she has
been betrayed, contribute to a [lack of trust]. It has led
to temporary dependence on bad advisers, sycophants
who tell her what she wants to know, because she
believes they tell her the truth. Even during the
emergency she believed those who told her how much
the people loved Sanjay. It has also led her to suddenly
throwing good advisers out, because they told her the
truth. ... Mrs. Gandhi does not ask what the truth is, so
long as it is what she, against all evidence, believes.
As an example of Gandhis growing reliance on astrology, Pupul Jayakar
(1992: 311) comments on the Prime Ministers reelection to office on January 6,
1980:
Astrologers and stargazers flocked to her door to warn
her that the stars were confused and that the
approaching total eclipse of the sun was dangerous for
her and her son. Her senior colleagues advised her to
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take office on January 14, the day of the solar equinox
according to the Hindu calendar.
Inder Malhotra (1989: 217) concurs, and adds that Gandhis three years
outside office fortified her reliance on astrology:
But she refused to be sworn in until January 14th, a
very auspicious day, according to the Hindu calendar,
and therefore much recommended by her astrologers.
This curious behaviour was entirely characteristic of
Indira. Her reliance on astrologers, soothsayers and
holy men was well known. During the thirty-three
months in the political wilderness this dependence had
clearly increased. So superstitious had she become that
priests specially invited from the holy city of Varansi
conducted purifying rituals for eight days before she
moved house again to 1, Safdarjung Road.
Both before winning the election and after securing victory, Indira Gandhi
took steps in accordance with astrology as she ... filed her nomination papers at
twelve-thirty on October 6, [1979], a time declared auspicious by astrologers
(Jayakar 1992: 283). About one month after taking office (following the
aforementioned eight-day wait from January 6 to January 14), Gandhi again set her
schedule according to astrological advice, attempting to avoid potential harm from the
solar eclipse of February 16, 1980:
The moment the moons presence shadowed the sun,
Indira got up, went to her room and stayed by herself
till the eclipse ended. This was not the robust Indira of
the pre-Emergency days. I was surprised to see how
influenced she was by ritual and superstition (314).
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The year 1980 continued to be challenging for Indira Gandhi as her younger
son and confidant, Sanjay, died in an aerobatic plane crash on June 23. The death
affected the Prime Minister in two ways: she lost the one person she could
completely trust, even though his advice may have not been very beneficial (India
Today, October 15,1992, p. 58); and she came to rely more heavily on astrology
(much as Nancy Reagan did after Ronald Reagan was shot that same year) (Jayakar
1992: 327). Indira Gandhis elder son was concerned about his mothers psyche:
Rajiv was very apprehensive of the growing influence
on Indira of astrologers and rituals. It appeared that a
Gujaranti newspaper had predicted Sanjays death in
June and now she was receiving innumerable letters
warning her of dangers to Rajiv. The newspapers were
full of astrological forecasts of dangers to the family in
the days ahead. It was obvious that her enemies were
intent on creating an atmosphere of fear to weaken and
destroy her psychologically (327).
The Prime Minister herself commented, Thats just it. It is because we did nothing
and ignored what they said, that this happened to Sanjay. They had foretold the
actual date (327).
Pupul Jayakar (1992: 221) recounts the prediction of one of the astrologers to
whom Indira Gandhi refers in the paragraph above:
P. M. Dhumal of Nagpur, a famous astrologer, anxious
to be of help, informed Nirmala Deshpande, a disciple
of Vinoba Bhave, that Sanjays stars were such that if
Indira and her younger son continued to stay under the
same roof, Sanjay would destroy his mother, or if she
survived, Sanjay would be destroyed. Together the
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stars foretold their doom. He begged Nirmala to
convey this to Indira. According to the astrologer,
Sanjay should be sent as far away as possible.
Nirmala tried to inform Indira in as subtle a way as
possible, but Indira was not prepared to listen. The
Prime Minister told R. N. Kao, a man she trusted
implicitly, I am not in very good health. I sleep in my
room and Sanjay next to me. If something happens to
my health, Sanjay will be within call.
Sanjay died in an aerobatic plane crash, the plane having been given to him by
Dhirendra Brahmachari, Indiras and Sanjays swami (Gupte 1992: 457). His name
is mentioned here as further evidence of Mrs. Gandhis reliance on mystics. Dom
Moraes (1980: 256) interviewed Indira Gandhi, and while he places less credence in
the Prime Ministers belief in astrology than most of her biographers, he does
describe the interaction between Gandhi and the swami:
She saw few people on a personal level. One of these
was Swami Dhirendra Brahmachari, a tall, bearded yogi
clad in white samite, mystic, wonderful. The
Brahmachari (the word means one who has forsaken
the world) teaches yoga. He taught Mrs. Gandhi yoga,
but he seemed to many people who thought well of her
an undesirable acquaintance, and his visits to her house
created numerous silly rumors.
In another account, Moraes (1980: 157) discusses his conversation with Indira
Gandhi about her religious beliefs:
But you must think of death and the afterlife, I said.
You see Anandamayi Mai and Swami Brahmachari,
dont you, who are supposed to be spiritual people?
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She said, Yes, I do. Anandamayi Mai is a very old
friend of my mothers. She influenced by mother
tremendously. But I go to see her because shes an old
friend. Swami Brahmachari is my yoga teacher. I have
started to practice yoga like my father. He teaches me
the asanas.
Zareer Masani (1976: 277) sums up best Indira Gandhis view toward religion
generally, if not astrology specifically:
In view of Nehrus outspoken agnosticism and rejection
of religious ritual and superstition, there has been
considerable curiosity about his daughters religious
attitudes. The general view seems to be that she is
more susceptible than Nehru to religion and its
trappings.
Because of her mothers influence, perhaps, she is
more tolerant of these rituals than her father, says Usha
Bhagat. Though she is not religious in any orthodox
sense, she meets Swamis etc. who come to see her
whom her father would have turned away. She is close
to Anandmai (a well-known female spiritual Guru)
because of her mothers contact; but she is nobodys
disciple.
While Indira Gandhi may have been nobodys disciple, she almost certainly
believed in astrology, more demonstrably so toward the end of her life than at the
beginning. This fact may be mildly surprising considering Indias official policy of
secularism, but it should not seem odd in the context that most Indians believe in
astrology (Gupte 1992: 171). In Pupul Jayakars (1992: 221) words, very few in
India ignore the mysterious power of the astrologer, even when it anticipates sorrow
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and generates anxiety. As the next section shows, for Indira Gandhi to have believed
in astrology was perfectly fitting in a nation steeped in astrological traditions.
The Tradition of Astrology in India
According to James T. Braha (1986: x), Indians have been practicing
astrology for over 6000 years, and the countrys elders have not only employed
astrology but embraced it. Westerners tend not to accept astrology as readily as
Indians, and, in any event, the astrology of the West differs from Indian astrology
about as much as Western culture differs from Indian culture.
It is perfectly appropriate that for all this time the
Western world had been satisfied with an astrology
which excels in delineating character disposition,
talents, abilities, and possibilities. Western culture is
steeped in the philosophy of free will, where man may
do what he will with what he was bom with, the extent
of success and its trappings being dependent only upon
how far the individual is willing to go to realize his
desires. On the other hand, the Hindus have for several
thousands of years worked with their predictive system,
which foretells more than anything else the events and
circumstances of a persons life. This is only natural in
view of Indian life, where there has existed a caste
system which has determined that the son of a servant
shall also be a servant and a merchants son shall
always be a merchant. More than that, India has for so
long been terribly impoverished that unless one is bom
wealthy, there is, as perhaps only one who has seen
India firsthand may know, almost no possible way to
rise above the circumstances one is bom under
unless, that is, destiny as revealed in the stars
determines otherwise (ix).
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Indian astrologers were so concerned with the astrological fate of their nation
that they convinced the Indian political delegation to persuade British Viceroy Louis
Mountbatten to sign Indias independence on August 14 instead of August 15,1947.
They felt that the fifteenth would have been disastrous for the countrys future (Ram
1984: 59). According to Mohan Ram, every Hindu political leader has at least one
astrologer (59), and some astrologers, such as Sharma, have made a career out of
counseling politicians (59).
Ram (1984: 59) says that Sharma even counseled Nehru, though the former
Prime Minister is well known for insisting on secularism in Indias government, so
Nehru may have simply been participating in a ritual his Hindu countrymen would
have found essential. In any event, claims Pupul Jayakar (1992: 92), Nehru insisted
that an accurate horoscope be drawn when his grandson and the future Prime
Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, was bom. Ultimately, once Rajiv Gandhi was elected Prime
Minister, he insisted that the swearing-in of his cabinet occur at an auspicious time,
according to Ram (1984: 59).
Considering that her father and her son heeded astrological advice in an
official capacity, Indira Gandhis belief in astrology falls into the context not only of
Indian tradition, but also of family tradition. Jayakar (1992: 280) may be suggesting
that Indira had seen Sanjays horoscope when she writes, I have often wondered
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whether in Sanjays birth chart there was a conjunction of stars which predicted an
early and violent death. It is difficult otherwise to understand the dark anxieties that
swamped this otherwise courageous woman.
In accordance with Indian tradition, astrologers wished to influence Indira
Gandhi when she was elected Prime Minister. At the beginning of her political
career, writes Jayakar (1992: 221), Gandhi became the attention of the entire nations
astrological corps:
In times of darkness and stress, the astrologer or
soothsayer who observes the configuration of stars and
foretells the future is sought out in India. Those who
accept karmic laws, the arrow of time, consider the
future is preordained. Todays action entangles
tomorrow, that is karmas law. Very few in India
ignore the mysterious power of the astrologer, even
when it anticipates sorrow and generates anxiety. Rites,
rituals and austerities are prescribed by the soothsayer
to change or deflect the flight of the arrow: causation,
according to these magician-soothsayers, can be
changed. So, at that time vast numbers of astrologers,
tantrics, and palmists converged on the capital. Their
ambition was to reach and influence the Prime Minister.
At the end of her career, according to Mohan Ram (1984: 59), Indias astrologers
were still trying to deflect the arrow, warning the Prime Minister to beware long-
haired assassins in July 1984; three months later, two of Indira Gandhis Sikh
bodyguards assassinated her.
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As another indication that Indira Gandhis countrymen follow an astrological
tradition, one can turn to Indian authors and their words about the former Prime
Minister. L. N. Sarin (1974: 109) describes Gandhi in this way: she steers her
course with confidence. She knows the stars. This portrayal reveals at least as much
about the authors attitude toward astrology as it does Mrs. Gandhis. In addition, the
periodical India Today places the caption, The wedding in 42: ill-starred under a
photo of Indira and her husband, Feroze Gandhi (India Today, October 15,1992, p.
53). Since the magazine is written for an Indian readership, this caption may give an
indication of Indias acceptance of astrology.
To understand the tradition of astrology in India and to see how much
influence stargazers have over everyday life, one must discern between the astrology
of the West and that of the Hindus. As James Braha (1986: ix) claims, Western
astrology allows for free will in every human transaction, but in India, astrology is
much more fatalistic. Martin Schulman (1975: 16) expounds upon this sentiment,
explaining that astrology is tied to karma, a law that transcends a given lifetime,
spanning several incarnations. Braha gives some examples of the fatalistic nature of
Hindu astrology. Analyzing Mohandas Gandhi's Indian horoscope, Braha (1986:
293) writes:
VIOLENT DEATH M.G. was assassinated in Jupiter
dasa Venus bhukti. Because the planets are so closely
aspecting each other, one might expect the absolute best
of all possible effects. However, the problem is that
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