The Return of Nikola Tesla

I had been thinking about inventor Nikola Tesla even before my weekend visit to the Integratron, an electromagnetically charged chamber in the California desert that was built by engineer George Van Tassel based partly on Tesla’s research (“Getting Charged Up at the Integratron,” May 26, 2008).

Tesla has inspired a cult-like devotion among his followers, many of whom believe his electrical inventions were thwarted by financiers such as Bernard Baruch and J.P. Morgan because they challenged the economics of the utility industry. In light of today’s fear that we are nearing “peak oil” and are running out of fuel to power our autos and other machines, Tesla’s claim to have discovered “free energy” is more intriguing than ever.

In 1933, the inventor told the New York American newspaper: “This new power for the driving of the world’s machinery will be derived from the energy which operates the universe, the cosmic energy, whose central source for the earth is the sun and which is everywhere present in unlimited quantities.”

One reason I got interested in Tesla is that the same day I started Astrology Mundo (Mar. 17, 2008), production began in San Marcos, Calif., on a breakthrough electric vehicle called the Tesla Roadster. The 100% electric car gets the equivalent of 135 miles per gallon, according to Tesla Motors. This electrical marvel costs a pretty penny, though. The base price for the 2009 model is $109,000.

Here’s the link to the company’s Web site:

Tesla the man surfaced as a character in Christopher Nolan’s 2006 film about magicians, The Prestige, and was portrayed by rocker David Bowie. Interestingly, 2006 was also declared the Year of Nikola Tesla by UNESCO. I rented The Prestige not long before visiting Niagara Falls for the first time in October, 2007. While I was at the falls, I saw a statue of Tesla on Goat Island. All roads were leading me to Tesla!

With the mysterious Tesla making cameo appearances in modern-day culture, I started looking into his chart. That’s when the confusion started. There are several charts circulating for the eccentric inventor who emigrated to America and registered 700 patents.

Everyone agrees that Tesla was born close to midnight. Legend has it that his midwife said he was born just as a bolt of lightning struck. This has led many astrologers to conclude that his chart must have the electrical planet Uranus rising.

Astrodatabank says Tesla was born at midnight on July 10, 1856, in Smiljan, a town that was in Austria-Hungary at the time of the inventor’s birth. It was later part of Yugoslavia and is now in Croatia. Here’s the chart:

If you scroll down the comments below Tesla’s AstroDataBank chart, you’ll find one dated May 15, 2001, that says that Tesla’s father was an orthodox priest who “recorded his birth according to the old calendar,” and that his real date of birth is July 22, 1856. The commenter cites a Serbian astrological magazine. Tesla’s parents were both of Serbian origin.

Given the lore about lightning striking as Tesla was born, here’s the chart I like. It shows a birth time of 11:10 p.m. local time on July 21, 1856. Yes, I know this is July 21, not July 22, like the Serbian astro magazine says, but this one works for me.

In many places, Tesla’s birthday is recorded as July 9/10, so it’s conceivable that he could have been born late on the night of July 21 because of the difference between the Julian and Gregorian calendars. If you want to read about calendars, click here:

The chart I like has a 25 degree Taurus ascendant with Uranus rising, a Sun/Venus conjunction at 29 degrees of Cancer, and a Moon/Neptune conjunction in Pisces, which could reflect the confusion about Tesla’s birthday. Here’s a link to that chart:

I need to do more reading about Tesla, but everything I’ve perused indicates he was an extremely nervous person, so the Uranus rising chart seems plausible.

It’s worth noting that transits from Uranus to a deceased person’s chart often activate interest in that individual. It is for this reason that I think astrologers should watch the date that the first Tesla electric car hits the road and compare the transits of that day to the various natal charts circulating for the inventor.

Based on the speculation about the development of a new energy source that was circulating at the United Astrology Conference in Denver, I don’t think we’ve heard the last of Tesla. If you want to read more about his life, click here for a Web site that accompanied an excellent PBS series:

All Charged Up at the Integratron


As Neptune stationed near the transiting North Node in Aquarius this weekend, a friend and I traveled about an hour and a half outside of Palm Springs, to Flanders, Calif. Our destination? A public “sound bath” at a building called the Integratron. This is apt because Neptune rules music and it’s in the sign of groups (Aquarius) and with the North Node, another indicator of involvement in a collective endeavor.

As you’ll see from the photo above (the first I’ve ever posted on Astrology Mundo!), the Integratron is a vaulted wooden structure that is painted white. It’s said to be sitting on top of a vortex of electromagnetic energy, which seems plausible given its proximity to the San Andreas Fault.

The Integratron is the creation of aeronautic engineer George Van Tassel, who died in 1978. Its current owners, Nancy and Joanne Karl, bill it as the only all-wood, “acoustically perfect sound chamber in the U.S.”

Van Tassel, who worked for such aerospace contractors as Lockheed, Douglas Aircraft, and Hughes Aviation, built the chamber based on the ideas of inventor Nikola Tesla and information he allegedly gleaned from channeling extraterrestrials. He began building the Integratron in 1954, not far from Giant Rock, a place long considered by Native Americans to be sacred because of its powerful energy.

Asked to describe the Integratron, Van Tassel told people that it was “a machine, a high-voltage electrostatic generator that would supply a broad range of frequencies to recharge the cell structure.”

Nancy Karl facilitates the rejuvenation with public sound baths, where she plays a series of nine quartz crystal bowls designed to activate the chakras in the body. With her radiant appearance and grounded, laid-back manner, Nancy is a walking advertisement for the benefits of the Integratron. It’s definitely working for her.

We mingled with folks before yesterday’s sound bath, many of them repeat customers for the $10, half-hour treatment. “California is wonderful that way — random strange things in the desert,” said one young woman as we prepared to enter the chamber.

The sound of the quartz bowls hurt my ears a little at first, but as the notes changed, I felt more comfortable. Many of the roughly 40 people in our sound bath fell asleep, but I didn’t feel particularly relaxed. In fact, the opposite was true. I felt energized, much the same way I have during acupuncture sessions when the therapist attached wires from the needles to electrodes.

© 2008 DDG

When we left the Integratron, the colors outside seemed more vivid than when we entered the chamber. I was definitely on a high that I can only compare to the way I felt not long after crossing the finish line of the New York City Marathon in 1999. I was also starving, so we stopped at the funky Crossroads Cafe in Joshua Tree for a restorative lunch. Then we made our way to Joshua Tree National Park, which felt like a trip indeed, thanks to my heightened sensitivity to color.