Ralph Nader, Hellenistically

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Today is Ralph Nader’s birthday ( 02/27/1934 @ 4:52 AM, Winsted, CT ). He is a lawyer and consumer advocate who was a four-time candidate for the U.S. presidency (1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008)

He is the son of Lebanese immigrants and graduated from Princeton University in 1955. He received a law degree from Harvard University in 1958. Nader soon became interested in unsafe vehicle designs that led to high rates of automobile accidents and fatalities.


GM’s Corvair

He became a consultant to the U.S. Department of Labor in 1964, and in 1965 he published Unsafe at Any Speed, which criticized the American auto industry in general for its unsafe products and attacked General Motors’ (GM’s) Corvair automobile in particular.


The book became a best seller and led directly to the passage of the 1966 National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, which gave the government the power to enact safety standards for all automobiles sold in the United States.


                                      Hellenistic Astrological Chart

I thought it would be interesting to have a look at his natal chart from a Hellenistic astrology perspective.

There has been a considerable uptick in the number of translations of ancient astrology texts in the last 20 years. Prior, most of what was known was found in Ptolemy’s writings, but unfortunately, Ptolemy was not a practicing astrologer. Consequently, his texts left out or even distorted significant parts of the astrological doctrine that he inherited because of his misunderstanding.


One of the most important techniques that he omitted was what was know as the ‘doctrine of sect.’ The ancient western astrologer’s initial step in delineating a chart would be to determine if it occurred during the day or night.

By “day”( diurnal) the Sun would be above the horizon, and by “night” (nocturnal) when the Sun was below the horizon. (The Greek word hairesis has been translated as ‘sect’ which generally can mean a school, academy, religious group, etc. as a group of people brought together by an idea or set of beliefs).


According to the sect doctrine, the planets can similarly be separated, segregated into affinity groups – the diurnal sect includes Sun, Jupiter, and Saturn. These planets are stronger in a daily chart ( when the Sun is above the horizon), and the nocturnal sect of the Moon, Mars, and Venus.

Mercury is adaptable to both sects.  It is diurnal when it rises ahead of the Sun and when it sets after the Sun, nocturnal.

It is rather surprising that this doctrine of sect fell out of use when we consider how important the day/night cycle is in human life and activity. If a person uses the phrase “it was as different as day and night,” you know they are trying to place the greatest emphasis possible on what is being compared.

Ralph was born early in the morning, a nocturnal birth ( because the Sun was still below the horizon, the Sun in the 2nd House and the Moon setting, but still visible in the 7th house. (In the Hellenistic tradition the house positions and visibility of planets were very important.

The Ascendant was considered the ‘helm of the ship’ to use nautical terminology. Hence the energy of the chart flows through it. The stronger houses were believed to be connected by aspect to the 1st house, the Ascendant. The angular houses were considered the most powerful, followed by the 5th, 9th, 11th, and the 2nd and 3rd, low to middling in strength,  with the 6th, 8th and 12th at the bottom of the favorably pecking order.

In Ralph’s chart, since it is nocturnal, Moon, Venus and Mars have a particular note as  does Mercury which is rising behind the Sun. The Moon, therefore is designated as the ‘sect light.’  It is in opposition to Saturn and a  key indicator of the Ralph’s kind of lifestyle and personality.

This is a configuration that suggests that Nader could be a  ‘workaholic:’personality, rather austere, self-effacing.   Saturn by the standard dignity measurements is very strong in his chart because of it its rulership (domicile) of Aquarius, and located in the 1st House, The Helm.  It rules Venus which is the second in the chain of despositors that links, next, Jupiter, then Sun, Mars, Uranus, and lastly Mercury, hence, Saturn is second only to the Moon is significant in the chart.

However, it is here that the doctrine of sect is helpful. A planet ‘out of sect’ is not necessarily less powerful in a chart. Saturn in Mr. Nader’s chart is a good example of this condition, as it is very powerful, but ‘out of sect’. Turn over any leaf in the Book of Nader, and you will see the influence of the Old Man Saturn. Indeed this is the point, the man appeared to be  dominated by what we might call an “out of control Saturn”, everything seemed to be influenced by it.  In the biographies of him  he is often described as having ‘a monastic lifestyle’, owns no car, has little interest in clothes, spending less than $10,000 a year on himself, and is very uncomfortable talking about his personal life.

It is probably true that the function and behavior of ‘out of sect’ planets are  less stable, reliable and helpful for the native. In Ralph’s case you could say “It was too much of a good thing”, but it seemed to suit him well. Otherwise he might have changed

Venus is also in the 1st House with Saturn, any planet in the 1st is important .  Venus for Ralph is obviously very low key because he exhibited very few Venus traits of behavior,  but the planet of love  does ‘work well for him’ since it is ‘in sect,’ but we could say, very ‘muted’, probably because it is in Saturn’s domicile (sign) and Saturn is its ‘almuten”. Venus, on the plus side,  has active dignity as it is in degrees of ‘terms’ and ‘face’ ( see Marc Jones’ Temple Astrology Lessons Sets. Page 80 ) 1

Venus is not well integrated into the overall aspect pattern; its only significant aspect is broad opposition to the Moon.  This suggests a tendency toward self-consciousness and social sensitivity that underlay his need for privacy, and the fact that he never married or had a romantic relationship.

Another important  part of Hellenistic astrology is the use of the ‘triplicities.’ We are familiar with the term, but they had a much more important role to play for the Hellenistic astrologer than as a categorization of the elementals ( see page 80 in Temple Astrology, the diagram at the bottom of the page depicts the essential triplicity assignments).

Triplicity, as used by the Hellenistic astrologers, was as another level of rulership. Planets in their triplicity were considered stronger.   The triplicity rulers of the Air Signs are Saturn (D), Mercury (N) and Jupiter (P).   Ralph’s Saturn in Aquarius is thus  strengthen by being in a sign favorable to it by triplicity.  Mercury is the triplicity ruler of Saturn as Nader was a nocturnal birth.

Nader is  a highly gifted, successful and relentless lawyer. This is indicated in the chart by the placement of Jupiter in the 9th ( which is a ‘good’ house as it is Trine to the ASC) and is also Trine to Venus by sign ( the Hellenistic astrologers made a distinction between aspects “by the sign’ and by ‘degree’).

Jupiter is also the ruler of the 2nd  house that suggests that Mr. Nader has acquired his income from legal activities.  That makes sense as he is a lawyer.

                                      Nader’s Lot

The Part of Fortune ( the Lot of Fortune) was a paramount point for the ancients. For Mr. Nader, it is in a favorable house, especially since the Angles are considered a positive key to success.

Nader’s  Lot of Fortune in the 7th, conjunct the Moon, is positive. However, Ralph never married and apparently never had a serious romantic relationship, what one would expect with this configuration. Perhaps we can see the underlying dynamics of why this was.

The opposition to Saturn did not help him in his social life, as has been mentioned, also the Moon is quincunx to Mars, also a downer and the Moon is located in a degree of Saturn’s Terms (Bounds).



The Temple Astrology Set can be obtained from http://www.Sabian.org by writing to the webmaster.