This treatise I’m working on charting the rise of the conservative Christian Right is a much bigger undertaking than I had imagined. Every road I take leads to three more, a fascinating journey. So I’ll post the second of three chapters tomorrow.

Meanwhile, since Ronald Reagan played a hugely instrumental role in the ascension of the Right in the US, I thought I’d offer a glimpse into his astrological world. Ronald and Nancy used the services of astrologers as early as the 1950s and 1960s, consulting Hollywood astrologer Carroll Richter and later Jeane Dixon (Jeane also served the Nixon White House). In 1974, then-Governor Reagan signed a law excluding astrologers from the category of illegal fortune tellers.

Nancy Reagan first sought out the services of Joan Quigley, an astrologer who was well known in celebrity circles, during the run up to the election between Reagan and Carter, Joan was responsible for timing the debates so that they were beneficial to Reagan. The debates are largely credited for Reagan’s win, so who knows what role the stars actually played. It sounds to me from my reading of the situation that Joan chose days that would be challenging for Carter (although frankly, Jimmy Carter was undergoing some difficult challenges leading up to the election – a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn preparing to conjunct his Sun, Neptune square his Mercury). (It’s odd to me that Reagan, a non-churchgoing astrology-using candidate was supported by the religous right over Carter, an avowed Baptist.) Another astrologer, Joyce Jillson, helped select George Bush as Reagan’s running mate.

After Reagan was shot by John Hinckley in 1981, a panicked Nancy Reagan was told by Merv Griffin that Joan would have been able to predict the assassination attempt. Nancy then began to rely on the assistance of Joan to keep her husband safe. Joan timed every event down to the second – the signing of treaties, Supreme Court nominations, every meeting and flight. She later participated in the renovation of the images of both the President and Nancy which arguably resulted in Reagan’s success in toppling the Soviet Union and his subsequent canonization by the conservative movement.

Once it became publicized that the Reagans sought the advice of an astrologer, Nancy Reagan dropped Joan Quigley liked a hot potato. Joan’s business took off under her new celebrity status, however. She later predicted that astrology would explode across the internet, but was unable to secure financing for her own site.

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