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1905: “The Greatest Single Achievement in Human Thought” -by: Gary P. Caton (originally published in Feb/Mar '07 TMA # 131)  

            101 years after Einstein published his famous theory of special relativity, it remains as the pinnacle of science –the Everest of intellect. Even Einstein’s self-professed biggest blunder, the “cosmological constant” –thought to have been disproved by Hubble’s discovery of an expanding Universe –has been re-examined in the context of “dark matter.”[i]

Yet, as undeniably forever altered as our world has been by E=mc2, it remains a puzzle incomplete. Despite the staggering implications of this theory, that tremendous amounts of energy reside in even the smallest specks of matter, humanity remains chained to the fragile, fluctuating and undeniably unsustainable source of fossil fuels to power our world, having unleashed this new force in only destructive and dangerous fashions. As an astrologer, I couldn’t help but wonder what the planets might have to say about this conundrum, particularly since Einstein had used predictions of small deflections in the orbit of Mercury to prove his theory.

            1905 was Einstein’s “miracle year” as he published five separate papers in The Annals of Physics which included not only his most famous theory but also his theory on the quantum of light that won him the Nobel Prize (in 1921). Ten years later, in 1915, Einstein figured out a way to prove his theory. He predicted a specific amount of deflection in the orbit of the planet Mercury which astronomers confirmed during a total eclipse in May 1919. There are many interesting transits and progressions which correspond to these revolutionary ideas, but first we must do justice to the nativity of this intensely curious, non-conformist, socially progressive genius. Albert Einstein was born March 14, 1879 at 11:30 am in Ulm, Germany.

            With the Water Sun and Ascendant, four planets in Fire, and only one in Air -at first glance it is easy to see not the chart of a physicist, but that of a poet –to which Einstein’s theories were often compared. The Air houses are all occupied, however, by planets in Earth signs, capable of grounding the intellectual energy. The preponderance of planets is in the Southern Hemisphere, above the horizon, which indicates an individual with natural self-confidence and leadership powers.[ii] This confidence enabled him to consistently shun the intellectual establishment and develop ideas that not only challenged conventional wisdom, but dwarfed them in their elegant simplicity. Obviously, we have begun to sniff a hint of the rebel planet, Uranus, here. Uranus is not just one of only two planets in the subjective Northern Hemisphere, but also the sole retrograde. Uranus is opposite the traditional ruler of the mid-heaven, Jupiter, from the 3rd to the 9th, indicating an expansive ideology. Uranus is in angle to Mercury –the classic “genius aspect”- by closing quincunx (Scorpio) from the 10th to the 3rd. Some would consider this a “minor” aspect, but thus begins a pattern that reveals the true magic of Einstein’s chart.

            I have found that anytime one is delineating the chart of a public figure, a close examination of the mid-heaven and its ruler becomes paramount. Often there is a harmonious relationship between the Ascendant and the Mid-heaven, and their rulers. Using these guidelines, we can see the natural harmony of this Soul with the public eye extends from the dominance of elevated planets to the Asc/Mc trine with magnetic Neptune at the mid-point. While the rulers, the Moon and Jupiter, are in harmonious elements, no angular relationship is immediately apparent.

However, the true subtlety, symmetry and genius of Einstein’s chart are seen only by showing the fifth and seventh harmonic aspects.[iii] Around the Jupiter/Uranus opposition is a collection of quintiles involving the ruler of the Ascendant and both rulers of the Mid-heaven. Jupiter is at the mid-point of a Moon/Neptune bi-quintile and thus quintile to both.

Einstein’s chart contains about twice the amount of quintile family aspects one would expect by chance.[iv] According to some interesting research, quintiles represent the “eureka” type scientist whose discoveries come in a flash of intuition.[v] The tightest orb of any aspect is the quintile of Pluto to the Mid-heaven and the next tightest aspect orb is from a septile. The same research shows a correlation between septiles and scientific discovery.[vi] The septile of Mercury to Pluto echoes the irony, (along with his Sun/Mars/Pluto “minor grand trine”) that the ultimate legacy of his beautiful theories became the Plutonic annihilation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

            Einstein’s Solar return chart for 1905 (3/14/1905 7:13:16 pm CET Aarua, SWTZ) shows an interesting continuation of these themes. The ascendant ruler, Venus is septile the mid-heaven ruler, the Moon. There are twice as many septiles as expected by chance.[vii] Also, the Uranus/Neptune opposition is the focus of some interesting formations. Straddling the MC/IC axis, the opposition forms a “mystic rectangle” with the nodal axis and serves as the spine of a “kite” formation which includes a grand trine from Uranus to Jupiter/Venus and N. Node.

            Einstein’s transits for May 20, 1905 continue to echo the “minor” aspect theme in his nativity. Transiting Mars is at the Mars/Uranus mid-point forming a quintile to both ends of the natal bi-quintile. Transiting Pluto is aspecting the same pair: quintile Uranus and bi-quintile Mars. Of course, this means that there was a transiting Mars/Pluto bi-quintile forming at that time.

            Another transiting theme revolves around the work of the legendary Grant Lewi. Lewi elucidated a technique for following transiting Saturn through the quadrants of the chart. Lewi reported that he often observed Saturn crossing the descendant into the 3rd quadrant as the “rise” of the individual into public consciousness and the culmination of transiting Saturn crossing the mid-heaven as a high-water mark.[viii] Accordingly we see Saturn culminating in the 9th and interestingly, transiting Uranus ready to “rise” from the 6th. The progressions for 1905 also show Saturn culminating and also progressed Mercury stationary retrograde square the nodal axis.

            As we might expect, progressed mercury stationary retrograde signals another time of introspection, where Einstein eventually devised a plan to test his theory. On November 18, 1915 Einstein unveiled an hypothesis which predicted a specific amount of deflection in the orbit of the planet Mercury (due to gravitational bending by the Sun).

Transiting Jupiter had culminated, transiting Saturn had moved across the ascendant to the “obscure” sector and transiting Uranus was on the rise –halfway through the 3rd sector.[ix] The septile signature of scientific discovery was also active.[x] Transiting Mercury was septile Uranus and bi-septile Saturn. Transiting Jupiter was septile the Moon and transiting Pluto was bi-septile Uranus. By this time, progressed Mercury had completed the inferior conjunction to the Sun –the mid-point of the retrograde cycle represented by the archetype of Prometheus[xi] -he who defied the Gods and gave to humans the gift of fire.

            Scientists soon realized that they would have ideal conditions for observing Mercury and testing Einstein’s predictions during the eclipse of May 15, 1919. Of course we know that Einstein was proven right, and that space and time are inter-twined and gravity acts not so much as an invisible attraction but as an actual warping of the space-time continuum. In many ways this moment was much bigger for the world, and for Einstein, than 1905. Fittingly, transiting Uranus was now beginning to culminate in the 9th (conjunct Jupiter) –a la Lewi’s Saturn. Einstein would soon win the Nobel Prize and tour the U.S. as a celebrity.

            As a small contribution of my own research, I decided to search the Astrodatabank to see if other scientists would share the Uranus culminating theme. I hypothesized that anyone born with Uranus in houses 2, 3, or 4 would see Uranus culminating somewhere around mid-life. By comparing the number of scientists with this placement to the rest of the Astrodatabank, I could see if scientists were more likely to be born with this placement. I found that scientists who were public figures were indeed 1/3 more likely to have this placement than average. Scientists in the field of Physics were 42% more likely.

            Another interesting synchronicity is that progressed Mercury, the same planet who helped Einstein prove himself, was culminating in 1919 as well (conjunct progressed MC). Some more ominous configurations that point toward the ultimate use of this “greatest achievement in human thought” include progressed Mars conjunct Jupiter and Progressed Moon, along with transiting Sun/Mars, conjunct Pluto. The final, and to me most profound synchronicity is found by progressing Einstein’s chart to August 6, 1945. Uranus rises just above the ascendant and Sun/Pluto culminate.

            I hope that we one day find a use more fitting to the beautiful mind who so elegantly described the awesome power of our universe. If we are to ponder on the legacy of Einstein, the simple idea of Unity would seem to be the most appropriate. Throughout Einstein’s life, the one overarching theme was his quest to overcome the apparent disparities of existence. It was behind everything he did, from the theory of special relativity,[xii] to his religion[xiii] and politics.[xiv]

            In the geocentric chart, this quest for unity could best be symbolized by the Jupiter/Uranus opposition and their participation in a loose “yod” with Mercury/North Node. But, I believe there is a much more complete astrological picture. Dane Rudhyar envisioned three types of Astrology.[xv] Rudhyar recognized a specific type of Astrology to deal with Sociological questions. In fact, he later names heliocentric Astrology as belonging to this “Astrology of the collective.”[xvi] Rudhyar believed that each person's birth represents a potential answer to a need of the greater whole--the tribe or nation, humanity-as-a-whole, planet Earth.[xvii] Where else but from the Sun would we look for such an all-encompassing vision–certainly not in a geocentric, locale-specific chart! Indeed as I began to investigate heliocentric charts, I began to find a relatively simple "vocational" indicator. Often the closest angle (smallest orb) in the chart -particularly to a personal planet -reflects the true calling, dharma or collective purpose. [xviii]

            As expected, Einstien’s closest heliocentric aspect, by orb, is the Venus/Saturn semi-square. Further, this aspect is part of what I call a “closed circuit” of a mutually connected "aspect chain" to Jupiter, Mars and Earth. In fact, there are no aspects in Einstein’s heliocentric chart that are not part of a “closed circuit” –mutually related to a third (or more) planet. So the collective need that Einstein’s birth served was the need for connection – a universal view that everything is connected and disparities fall away when viewed from a higher perspective (a la heliocentric). Therefore, let us remember “the greatest single achievement in human thought” as a call to transcend our differences by seeking a larger perspective where these differences fall away and reveal the essential unity of existence.



[ii] Frances Sakoian and Betty Caulfield. 1980.  Astrological Patterns: The Key to Self-Discovery. Harper & Row: New York, NY.

[iii] N. Kollerstrom PhD. “The Eureka Effect: A Study of Scientific Inspiration” –see

[iv] Ibid.

[v] Ibid.

[vi] Ibid.

[vii] Ibid.

[viii] Grant Lewi, Astrology for the Millions. 1940 -copyright 1969 Llewellyn Publications: St. Paul MN.

-Lewi called the 1st sector (1st-3rd houses) the “obscure” sector, the 2nd sector (4th-6th houses) the “emergence” sector, the 3rd sector (7th-9th houses) the “rise” sector, and the 4th sector (10th-12th) was for consolidation.

[ix] Ibid.

[x]  N. Kollerstrom PhD. “The Eureka Effect: A Study of Scientific Inspiration” –see

[xi] Erin Sullivan, Retrograde Planets, 2nd edition, York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser Inc., 2000,

[xii] "Fundamental Ideas and Methods of Relativity." 1920 as quoted by Gerald Holton “Einstein’s third Paradise

He reports that in the construction of the special theory, the "thought concerning the Faraday [experiment] on electromagnetic induction played for me a leading role." He then describes that old experiment, in words similar to the first paragraph of his 1905 relativity paper, concentrating on the well-known fact, discovered by Faraday in 1831, that the induced current is the same whether it is the coil or the magnet that is in motion relative to the other, whereas the "theoretical interpretation of the phenomenon in these two cases is quite different." While other physicists, for many decades, had been quite satisfied with that difference, here Einstein reveals a central preoccupation at the depth of his soul: "The thought that one is dealing here with two fundamentally different cases was for me unbearable [war mir unertraeglich]. The difference between these two cases could not be a real difference . . . . The phenomenon of the electromagnetic induction forced me to postulate the (special) relativity principle."

[xiii] Gerald Holton “Einstein’s third Paradise

 in his essay on ethics, Einstein cited Moses, Jesus, and Buddha as equally valid prophets.

In the evolution of religion, he remarked, there were three developmental stages. At the first, "with primitive man it is above all fear that evokes religious notions. This 'religion of fear' . . . is in an important degree stabilized by the formation of a special priestly caste" that colludes with secular authority to take advantage of it for its own interest. The next step – "admirably illustrated in the Jewish scriptures" – was a moral religion embodying the ethical imperative, "a development [that] continued in the New Testament." Yet it had a fatal flaw: "the anthropomorphic character of the concept of God," easy to grasp by "underdeveloped minds" of the masses while freeing them of responsibility. This flaw disappears at Einstein's third, mature stage of religion, to which he believed mankind is now reaching and which the great spirits (he names Democritus, St. Francis of Assisi, and Spinoza) had already attained – namely, the "cosmic religious feeling" that sheds all anthropomorphic elements. In describing the driving motivation toward that final, highest stage, Einstein uses the same ideas, even some of the same phrases, with which he had celebrated first his religious and then his scientific paradise: "The individual feels the futility of human desires, and aims at the sublimity and marvelous order which reveal themselves both in nature and in the world of thought." "Individual existence impresses him as a sort of prison, and he wants to experience the universe as a single, significant whole." Of course! Here as always, there has to be the intoxicating experience of unification. And so Einstein goes on, "I maintain that the cosmic religious feeling is the strongest and noblest motive for scientific research . . . . A contemporary has said not unjustly that in this materialistic age of ours the serious scientific workers are the only profoundly religious people."

[xiv] Gerald Holton “Einstein’s third Paradise  As in his science, Einstein also lived under the compulsion to unify – in his politics, in his social ideals, even in his everyday behavior. He abhorred all nationalisms, and called himself, even while in Berlin during World War I, a European. Later he supported the One World movement, dreamed of a unified supernational form of government, helped to initiate the international Pugwash movement of scientists during the Cold War, and was as ready to befriend visiting high school students as the Queen of the Belgians. His instinctive penchant for democracy and dislike of hierarchy and class differences must have cost him greatly in the early days, as when he addressed his chief professor at the Swiss Polytechnic Institute, on whose recommendation his entrance to any academic career would depend, not by any title, but simply as "Herr Weber."

[xv] Dane Rudhyar, The Astrology of Personality. 1970 Doubleday: Garden City, NY. Pg.183.

Rudhyar argued that since there are three basic types of planetary motion (axial, orbital, and precessional) there should be three basic types of astrology. “One type…will function primarily in terms of axial motion (geocentric), and stress the individual (psychological) factor in a man… Another type will emphasize… orbital (heliocentric) revolution…and stress the collective (sociological) factor in the behavior of man” The third type of astrology is concerned with “the evolutionary process…the polar axis and its motions.” –parentheses and emphasis mine.

[xvi] Dane Rudhyar, The Astrology of Personality. 1970 Doubleday: Garden City, NY. Pp.186-87.

Dane Rudhyar, “Heliocentric Astrology and Human Nature”, NCGR Journal Autumn 1990 reprinted from: World Astrology Magazine August 1944 no.7

[xvii] Rudhyar’s Culture Crisis and Creativity –quoted from Greg Bogart. Rhudyar’s Prophetic Vison  

[xviii] see for instance
Heliocentric Astrology & The Artist Signature


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