P. J. McGuire and Labor Day


Peter J. McGuire,  the general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners and cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was the first person to suggest that a special national day be created to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.”  He recommended this holidays be sometime between Independence Day and Thanksgiving to break up the long four month span and allow workers to enjoy the beauty of the Creator and rest.  He was insistent that this holiday should be with pay.

Others contend it was a peace offering from President Grover Cleveland to the Railway Union President Eugene Debs for the killing of a dozen or more of the strikingrailway workers in Pullman, Illinois.  In this essay, we look at the two arguments to  see what the holiday’s Natal Chart suggests.

            Bowling Green

To do that, first we had to settle on a “birthdate”  and location for the grand event.  According to the United States Department of Labor, the first Labor Day was in New York City on September 5, 1882. It was announced by the City’s mayor to be an all day affair,  so we chose midnight for its birth.

The event’s  temperament type is a bowl 1 i.e.: all ten planets fall cleanly with the parameters of a tilted hemispheric rim angling from the 5th House of play & sport to the 11th house of the public. Bowl temperament types are rather self-contained and this one, primarily Northern based, has most of the planets shining upwards towards the southern or visible hemisphere, showing that the original Labor Day was indeed the familiar one of parties, barbecues and beaches.  The rim, keeping everything contained within and so rather complacent,  makes sense for the original Labor Day as Mr. McGuire intended, but  this was just  a localized celebration, and not the intended national Labor Day .

                                                The next labor day

The 06 Cancer Ascendant (Hyperion Symbol) of a “boxer skipping  rope” i.e. resting up by taking on some idle exercise to be in better shape agrees;   it is conjunct Jupiter and via a translation of light, the Moon. This is an excellent combination as Jupiter is exalted in Cancer and encourages good-naturedness and enthusiastic enjoyment of things undertaken. Also, this conjunction in the 1st house  denotes indulgence and patronage on the mundane level an important reminder as McGuire felt it should be a paid one bestowed by the employer, otherwise how can someone really luxuriate in the day?

                              What’s the line?

Marc Jones changed the traditional relationship between the planets and created his own four departments, each composed of an aspect between particular planets.  

  1. The Line of Vitality, is the aspect between the two luminaries.  Here it is sextile suggesting an effortless time where everyone decides to put off today their chores for tomorrow and just enjoy the bounty that they have sown.
  2. The Line of Motivation, is the aspect between Jupiter and Saturn; here it  is missing.  While it is semi-sextile, that is not  major aspect according to Marc Jones’s  planetary rules and  he ignores but, we feel that it suggests the spirit of the day is undisciplined and unregulated. Probably true too then as it is now, as it is has become a major end-of-summer shopping spree dictated more by desire than by need.
  3. The third line is Social Significance (previously the Line of Culture) and appears  in a harmonious trine. This shows that whatever you decide to do, there will be others in agreement with that decision. 
  4. The fourth line is of Self Determination, the aspect between Neptune and Uranus. This aspect is also in trine, indicate according to Marc Jones “man’s opportunity for significance in his world.” This is also prominent in the chart of John L. Lewis, the great UMW leader.

One rather striking thing is that Lilith is partile (exact in degree) to Neptune highlighting that from the onset there were many who disputed McGuire’s notion of a respite. We can look to the second and national holiday to see how that turns out.

We have another bowl with the national Labor Day but this one has a Uranian lip, keyword independence, in the 4th house of Virgo, keyword assimilation, that works as a focal determinator, or focus point, for the chart. Thus here the Uranus scoop highlights that the holiday had changed in meaning — where as before it was a happy family holiday — now it was a strident call for fierce independence and recognition by the nation of that call.