Atop the Great West Door of one of Europe’s most impressive examples of Gothic architecture, London’s Westminster Abbey, are ten niches flanked by two further niches on either side of the massive cathedral’s main entrance.
The side niches contain the kind of thing one would expect to see at a Gothic cathedral dating back to the Middle Ages – statues personifying Christianity’s Four “Virtues”: Truth, Justice, Mercy, and Peace.
The niches which adorn the top of the massive building’s entrance way, however are highly unusual and not in any way typical Gothic thoroughfare since each accommodates a statue depicting a non-English Christian martyr from the 20th century.
In the center of this row of statuary honoring those that sacrificed their lives for their Christian ideals during the previous century stands an effigy of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.
What makes Dr. King’s statue stand out among the rest is not only does his likeness bear the eyes of a martyr fully aware of an early death that is as fated as it is untimely, the Georgian preacher’s image captured in French Richemont limestone is oddly enough overtly hunched over.
A physical detail representative of the burden one must bear upon accepting the mantle of responsibility of being a prophet to one’s people.
The decade of the 1960′s sets itself apart in America’s recorded history as a time of assassination, extreme social and political unrest, and riotous rebellion. Astrologically, those unforgettable, non-normal years were the mirrored reflection on Earth of the decade long interplay between the planet of rebellion and sudden “out of the blue” events, Uranus, and the planet of death and transformative change, Pluto, in the sign of conservative propriety, Virgo.
Prophets emerge during the severest of times, when the atmosphere is brimming with tension as if the earth itself demands that both Justice and Change make their presences known. Prophets are visionaries that are shown glimpses of the future so they may serve as beacons of hope and fortitude for their people. Prophets walk upon the world’s stage at the advent and duration of trying times but seldom do they live past the period of hardship in which they struggle.
The Prophet of the 1960′s was a man who fit all of the above criteria, who at the cycular end of the last joining of Uranus and Pluto in the sign of Virgo was taken from this world at the age of 39 on April 4th, 1968 – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
On the day before Dr. King was killed on April 3rd, this most charismatic of preachers gave a sermon to an overfilled assembly of people at the Mason Temple in Memphis Tennessee. The words of this last sermon are what many believe to be those uttered by a prophet. Dr. King’s natal chart supports this theory.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was born in the late morning of January 15th, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. Astrologically, the civil rights leader entered this plane of existence when the Sun was in the last of the earth signs, whose symbol is the mystic mountain goat, Capricorn. I like to euphemistically call Capricorns, “the workhorses of the Zodiac”. What the other 11 signs think is a hard day’s work is what the typical Capricorn gets done on their day off.
In order for a Capricorn to work at their optimal best, a particular thing needs to be present –THE GOAL. When a Capricorn has a goal in mind, no matter how far away or high up it is, they will ceaselessly toil bit by bit until they perceive that goal to be reached with full follow through to completion.
Although Martin Luther King never reached his goal of racial equality and civil justice within 1960′s America, he not only displayed his inherent Capricorn qualities through his tireless work ethic but infused his most stirring and inspirational speeches within the framework of the Capricorn goal.
The Goal of Dreams
Dr.King’s most famous speech was delivered while the storm clouds of 1960′s turmoil first gathered at the March on Washington almost three months to the day before the assassination of President Kennedy on August 28th, 1963. The spellbinding inspiration behind King’s “I Have A Dream” speech is palpable, since the dreams he speaks of are firmly established goals of a brave and entirely new world made by a Capricorn for himself, his family, and his people.
The Mystical Markings of a Prophet
When looking at the natal chart of Dr. King, two karmic aspects must be highlighted. Both are extremely rare and together they point to a person who was divinely chosen to bear the immense burden of being a prophet to his people – The Grand Trine of the Fire Houses and an Unaspected Mercury in its Exaltation.
The Grand Trine of the Fire Houses
A “Grand Trine” is when 3 planets are positioned in the 3 signs of an element in a person’s birth chart. When this occurs, the influences from the 3 planets are said to mutually work in harmony together. This harmonious aspect is identifiable by a blue triangle formed by the trine aspect connecting the 3 planets to one another.
Although a Grand Trine is noteworthy for its positive aspects, they are unto themselves not rare. A Grand Trine of 3 planets in the Fire Houses (Houses 1, 5, & 9) however, is not only rare, it’s believed to be highly karmic and a marking which indicates atypical spirituality and divine intercession .
Stephen Arroyo, in his foundational book, “Astrology, Karma, & Transformation”, describes the Fire House Grand Trine as “a mode of expression and energy release which is timeless, spontaneous, and so natural that it eludes our capturing its essence in words” and “verges on the transcendant”. He describes people born with this karmic marking as those who see themselves “as a channel for the manifestation of a greater power.”
When observing the planets involved in Dr. King’s Fire House Grand Trine, one can see how his inspirational life of example was marked to be such a channel for the manifestation of a greater power: Saturn in the 9th at the top of the triangle, Jupiter in the first as the lower left corner, and Neptune in the 5th as the lower right. To briefly summarize these planetary placements:
Jupiter in the 1st – Jupiter is the planet of Hope, Faith, and Optimism. The largest heavenly body of our Solar System is also categorized as the most “benevolent” of planets since Jupiter also represents both blessings and saintliness. The First House is the House of Self, or one’s overall personality.
With the immense burden of responsibility placed on Dr. King’s shoulders, he always appeared to project a sense of good natured hope and optimism whenever in the public’s eye.
Saturn in the 9th – Saturn is Jupiter’s foil and represents hardship, restriction, loss, and pain. However, when placed in the 9th House of Faith and Organized Religion, the extreme difficulties usually associated with the planet known as “The Lord Of Karma” are transcended, so that a person born with this placement will in all likelihood display an overall sense of wisdom along with a practical approach of faithful tenacity whenever problems or challenges present themselves.
Saturn is the planetary ruler of Dr. King’s Sun Sign sign of Capricorn and the preacher powerfully displayed to the world his wisdom and faithful tenacity in the most practical of ways by promoting non-violence as the most effective way to make both a statement and a difference.
Neptune in the 5th – The most positive aspects associated with the planet Neptune are inspired creativity and a sense of universal spirituality that extends beyond organized religion. At its core, the watery planet along with the Moon is the heavenly body most associated with anything related to the stuff of dreams. The 5th House is known as the House of Creative Self Expression.
As mentioned earlier, Dr. King’s most inspirational and famous words embody his Neptunian 5th House placement when he proclaimed to the world “I Have A Dream.”
Mercury: Exalted & Unaspected
In a piece I wrote regarding Mercury entitled“Mercury: Know Thy Planetary Self”, I describe the astrological role assigned to the smallest planet in our Solar System:
“In Astrology, Mercury represents how we communicate, be that via speech, writing, as well as body language.”
In another article entitled, “Living Through The Right Hemisphere of Society’s Brain: Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius”, I describe the qualities associated with a planet in its exaltation, or “exalted”:
“A planet is exalted when it is placed in a sign it does not naturally rule over that works in synch with that planet’s overall energies and influences, resulting in said planet having the best possible effect or optimal influence whenever positioned in that sign.”
Many astrologers argue over which sign best fits Mercury’s exaltation. I firmly believe Mercury is exalted, or functions best in, the sign of Aquarius, since the planet which oversees Thought & Communication couldn’t have a better environment than the last of the air signs known for its traits of genius, invention, and far reaching thought which affect the masses at large.
Dr. King’s Mercury is not only placed in the sign of Aquarius, the planet of Thought and Communication is also placed in the House that Aquarius rules over, the 11th House of Hopes, Wishes, Dreams, Groups, the Masses at large, and the Future, itself.
When looking at MLK’s 11th House Mercury, the planet is noticeably different from the rest of the chart due to there being an absence of any lines emanating from it. This is known as an “unaspected” planet. A planet is unaspected when it has no other aspects or interactions with any of the other planets in a natal chart. Due to its solitary and confined nature, an unaspected planet can often represent itself in a person’s birth chart to be a special or gifted talent and is viewed as a highly karmic marking.
For the most part unaspected planets are not common but they aren’t incredibly rare. Dr. King’s Mercury placement is the astrological marking of a prophet not only by his natal Mercury being exalted by sign and house placement but of all the planets of our Solar System, the two which have the highest probability of being aspected are those closest to the Sun – Venus and Mercury. Dr. King’s Mercury is made even more karmicly special since it is a planet that almost always has some form of tie to the rest of the chart, that when unaspected, the person born with that planetary placement is destined to communicate with words and statements perceived to be of a timeless nature by others.
The Universe decreed that Martin Luther King’s words, especially those said in front of large groups of people, or the masses, would stand the test of time and be remembered long after his departure from this world.
The Sermon on the Mountaintop
“Early Morning, April 4
Shot rings out, In the Memphis Sky
Free at last, They took your life
They could not take your pride.”
– “Pride (In The Name Of Love)”, U2
Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on a hotel balcony on April 4th, 1968. As previously mentioned, the day before his death on April 3rd, Dr. King gave his last sermon to an overfilled gathering of people at the Mason Temple in Memphis. This sermon, known to many as “The Mountaintop Speech” are words which I truly believe to be those said by a prophet, both for their mystical pre-awareness of an untimely end and for their prophetic symbolism as evidenced in the civil rights leader’s birth chart.
The Awareness of an Untimely End
As stated earlier, hardly ever do prophets live past the period of hardship they struggle the most within and eerily, they seem to be inherently aware of that fact all along. Dr. King displays this sense of pre-knowledge of his death more than once in his Mountaintop Sermon:
“And then I got to Memphis…Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Like anybody, I would like to live – a long life; longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now.”
King’s words mirror The Bible’s Deuteronomy 34:1-4, where Moses leads his people out of Egypt but the prophet is not allowed to enter the Promised Land :
“Then Moses climbed Mount Nebo… There the Lord showed him the whole land… Then the Lord said to him, “This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob… I will let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it.”
The Capricorn Prophet speaks from the Mountaintop
Martin Luther King was born a Capricorn. At the time of his birth, not only was his Sun positioned in that sign but the center of our Solar System which astrologically represents The Self was simultaneously placed in the House that Capricorn naturally rules over as well – the 10th House of Status and the Public. The 10th House is the highest point of the birth chart. With Dr. King’s Sun placed in the sign known for its work ethic unlike any other especially when there is an aspired goal and positioned at the highest point of the birth chart all translates to a man who was destined to tirelessly toil with a high reaching goal in mind that would be for the good of all people.
As Pluto, the planet of Death and Transformation, in the early April sky in 1968 was fast approaching an exact square with both Martin Luther King’s chart ruler of Mars in Gemini as well as with his natal Saturn in Sagittarius, the prophet summarized his life and divine purpose in his last sermon that was given just hours before his death:
“I’ve been to the mountaintop. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. So I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man.”
Through these final, powerful words, the man born beneath the sign of the Mystic Mountain Goat had indeed reached the mountaintop and in doing so, fulfilled his prophetic destiny.
Backdrop image of Dr. King delivering his Mountaintop Speech at Memphis’ Mason Temple on 4/3/68 – blackpast.org
Image of MLK statue at Westminster Abbey – westminster-abbey.org