The Beginning (and End) of the Oil Age

Taking a page from astrologers who look at the chart of the Wright brothers’ first flight for clues to why an airplane crashed, I’ve calculated the chart for the discovery of oil to see if we can learn anything about the recent spike in oil prices and whether fears that we’ve entered a “peak oil” period are valid.

According to the Web site of the Paleontological Research Institute (PRI), petroleum was first discovered on the morning of Aug. 28, 1859 in Titusville, Pa. The find was made in a well drilled earlier that summer by Edwin Drake that had been nicknamed “Drake’s Folly” because it hadn’t produced any results. Click here to learn more.

We don’t know what time the oil was first spotted, but the Web site says morning. I’ll venture to say that folks started work pretty early back in those days, so I’ve set the chart for 7 a.m.

Here’s the chart, courtesy of Astrodienst.

I want to point out that even if the Ascendant is iffy because I’ve arbitrarily picked 7 a.m., that Neptune in Pisces in the seventh house seems valid, given that Neptune rules oil and it is in the sign that it rules, Pisces.

Michael WolfStar at Neptune Cafe has rectified this chart and uses a 7:56 a.m. time. His page on oil is one of the most comprehensive collections of charts and commentary on the subject that I’ve seen.

What’s really interesting is that the upcoming Saturn/Uranus opposition in Virgo/Pisces, exact on Election Day, is quite close to the oil chart’s Neptune at 26 degrees of Pisces.

I’ve consulted my trusty reference book, The Combination of Stellar Influences by Reinhold Ebertin, to learn that Saturn/Uranus equals Neptune means: “weakening strength, separation, mourning, and bereavement.” Could we be sad because our oil is running out? If the chart is any indication, the answer is yes.

It’s interesting that this chart has a Venus/Mars conjunction in Leo when you consider that the automobile, powered by gasoline, was a venue for sexual exploration and other youthful (Leo) hijinks like “joy-riding” and playing “chicken” in the 1950s. We see a little of this in the opening scenes of the latest Indiana Jones movie, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. A lot of gasoline is burned in the name of fun, a Leo realm, as we drive and fly to weddings, parties, baptisms, graduations, family reunions, and vacations.

Another thing I find fascinating about this chart is that it has North Node and Chiron in Aquarius not far from where they are traveling right now. What does this mean? I’m not sure, but record high oil prices are leading us to re-examine our dependence on this commodity and perhaps our whole way of life.

As readers of this blog have probably gathered, I approach astrology and the charts I calculate with a Sagittarian enthusiasm. I see myself as an explorer. I’m looking for connections, but I’m not wedded to my own interpretations. I think charts are valuable maps for those of us who think we know how to read them, but they can operate on many levels at once and their nuances aren’t always immediately apparent.

I’ll write more later, and I’d love to hear what other students of astrology have to say about this birth of oil chart.