Happy Birthday, Tesla Motors!

Here’s more evidence for the theory that people and places are in the news around the time of their birthday. After writing my post below on New Mexico losing the Tesla Motors sedan factory to California, I decided to run a natal chart for the pioneering electric car company.

Guess what? Tesla was born July 1, 2003 in San Carlos, Calif. (There are actually two towns named San Carlos in California. One is near San Diego and the other is outside of San Francisco. Tesla is based in the latter.)

Today is Tesla Motors’ fifth birthday. We don’t have a time of birth, so the chart has been set for noon. Here’s the link, courtesy of Astrodienst.

It’s noteworthy that Tesla, which is manufacturing a 100% electric sportscar, has an electrical Uranus/Mars conjunction in Pisces. It will be interesting to see what happens when Jupiter conjuncts the Uranus/Mars in late January, 2010. Maybe that’s when the first Teslas will hit the road.

The Sun in Cancer is conjunct Mercury and Saturn, which suggests this is a serious endeavor that will most likely encounter obstacles along the way. That doesn’t mean the company won’t be a success. Indeed, there has been considerable management turnover since the company was founded, but this isn’t unusual in a startup.

The July 2 New Moon at 11 degrees of Cancer symbolizes a new start for Tesla Motors. Maybe this has something to do with the tax breaks that California instituted last week for zero emission vehicle manufacturers such as Tesla Motors. (See “Tesla: California’s Gain is New Mexico’s Loss.”)

Tesla Motors: California’s Gain is New Mexico’s Loss

As readers of this blog know, I’ve been learning about the work of inventor Nikola Tesla and I’m fascinated by his namesake company, Tesla Motors, a California automaker that is working on a 100% electric roadster for 2009 delivery. (See “The Return of Nikola Tesla”).

I’m here in New Mexico visiting my family and the big news here this morning is Tesla Motors’ decision to cancel a production facility in Albuquerque that would have produced a sedan for the 2010 model year. Score one for California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and zero for N.M. Governor Bill Richardson (D).

The reason for the shift to the Golden State? Tax incentives that will give the new startup at least $1 million in state funds to train employees. In addition, under a new program adopted by California last week, zero emission vehicle companies will be exempt from paying sales and use taxes on the purchase of manufacturing equipment.

Isn’t it funny how Republicans end up running California and doling out Democrat-style tax incentives? There must be something in the Golden State’s water that turns everyone into a liberal, not that there’s anything wrong with that, as Jerry Seinfeld would say.

Tesla also attributed the decision to scrap the N.M. plant to the greater efficiencies it can gain by having all its production in one place. Both its battery pack and the Tesla Roadster are currently manufactured in California.

What’s the astrological angle on this? Off the top of my head, I will attribute California’s early embrace of revolutionary technologies to the tight Uranus/Pluto conjunction in pioneering Aries in the statehood chart. You can look at it here, courtesy of Astrodienst.

Interestingly, the press release from Tesla was issued June 30, as Mars in Leo was trining Pluto in Sagittarius, forming a grand trine with the natal California Uranus/Pluto conjunction at 29 degrees of Aries.

I’m hitting the road today so I don’t have time to run a statehood chart for cash-poor New Mexico, but you don’t have to be an astrologer to realize that its government resources are a fraction of California’s. In fact, the Land of Enchantment often loses out to neighbor Arizona in bids to lure jobs to the state.

I spent the winter in California so I guess I’m an honorary Golden State resident, but I was sad to see New Mexico get muscled out yet again in the competition for a high-profile manufacturing facility.

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: http://www.teslamotors.com/

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: http://www.astrodatabank.com/NM/FeedbackPRT.asp?ChartID=46

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:
http://www.astro.uu.nl/~strous/AA/en/antwoorden/moderne_kalenders.html

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: http://www.astrology21.co.uk/p1tesla.html

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: http://www.pbs.org/tesla/ll/index.html