Benjamin Franklin
Copyright Michael D. Robbins 2005

Astro-Rayological Interpretation & Charts
Images and Physiognomic Interpretation

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Benjamin Franklin—Inventor and Statesman: January 17, 1706, Boston, MA, 11:00 AM, LMT. (Source: Marc Penfield states that the AFA has gathered evidence that Franklin was born in the morning and carried across the street to be baptized by his father. Other views as follows: Rudhyar speculates 10:30 AM. Frances McEvoy quotes Grant Lewi, C. 1950, for 1:30 AM, stating that “records found  at Old south church state that he was baptized the Sunday morning of his birth.” Mathhews gives a late Virgo ASC = 9:40 PM. Died, April 17, 1790, Philadelphia,


Various Ascendants are offered by various authors: Aries, Virgo, Scorpio and Pisces. Focussing on the late morning hours, we have: (Speculative Ascendant, Aries Speculative MC, Capricorn with Sun also in Capricorn; Mercury retrograde in Aquarius; Venus in Capricorn; Mars in Sagittarius; Jupiter in Cancer; Saturn in Taurus; Uranus and Pluto in Leo; Neptune rising in Aries)   

Benjamin Franklin was another “man for all seasons”. He demonstrated that practical versatility upon the physical plane which is found in the representatives of Master R’s Ashram; Thomas Jefferson was another.

Franklin is known as a printer, publisher, experimenting scientist, moralist, author, inventor, statesman, diplomat and, even, a musician—he wrote a strange and obscure piece of music for a cello ensemble while in attendance as a diplomat at the court of Louis XVI.  

Franklin’s predominant rays are, reasonably, the seventh, third and fifth—practicality, versatility and factuality. His many achievements in the practical world (not just the world of thought) correlate with Capricorn—the sign of the initiate, and Franklin certainly was such. His experiments with electricity (the famous kite and key experiment) correlate with Mercury (the esoteric ruler of the proposed Aries Ascendant) in electrical Aquarius. This is a very progressive and inventive position reinforcing the fifth ray (as Aquarius distributes the fifth ray—especially, at that historical time, in the case of more advanced individuals) and Mercury has its own fifth ray component (perhaps, monad). As well, Uranus (“home of electric fire”), with a fifth ray component of its own, (and the hierarchical ruler of a proposed Aries Ascendant) is placed in fifth ray Leo (as is research-promoting Pluto), and the midpoint of these two planets of science is opposed to Mercury.  This opposition, which is part of a T-Square with practical Saturn in down-to-earth Taurus, is the configuration most supportive of Franklin’s scientific enquiries.

Mars in Sagittarius (orthodox ruler of the proposed Aries Ascendant) contributes to Franklin's internationalism—his diplomatic mission to France, and Venus in Capricorn supports this diplomacy; Jupiter in Cancer strengthens his patriotism, the love of his “home country” and the desire to preserve and protect it. All these positions would be strengthened by house placement if Aries is the correct Ascendant.

Probably, with regard to the correct Ascendant,  it would be best to reserve judgment and experiment until an exhaustive study of Franklin’s life can be made or until more substantial evidence is brought forward. With a man so versatile and accomplished as Franklin, there are many possibilities, and the chart can be ‘turned’ with superficial convincingness in a number of ways. The sometimes proposed Virgo Ascendant might seem to fit well with the fact that Franklin was a printer, and Mars in Sagittarius would then be found in the third house of communications, but then, with the Aries Ascendant, Mars would be found in the ninth house, and Franklin could also be considered a publisher (H9) with a point (Sagittarius) to be made through his publications.

If Aries were the Ascendant (and not Virgo), the power of invention, of conceiving the new, would be enhanced. Astrologers might point to the importance of Mercury in Franklin’s life (hence the possible importance of such a Mercurial sign as Virgo being the Ascendant)  and none could dispute the initial reasoning, however, an Aries Ascendant would also emphasize the importance of Mercury (as esoteric ruler) in the case of an advanced individual such as Franklin. Incidentally, again we see a retrograde Mercury appearing in the case of an original thinker.  Aries fits well in one deeply psychological sense, for Franklin was (though long-lived as so many Capricorns) ever youthful and ever new—always reinventing himself and even (so the story goes) looking forward to appearing in a “new and improved edition”—his next incarnation.                                                                     

In terms of the importance of the seventh ray in Benjamin Franklin’s life, there are stories that in France he became closely associated with the Count de St. Germain (known also as the Master R.—the seventh ray Master of the time). The Count had long been interested in the founding of a new nation across the Atlantic (Francis Bacon {one of the Count’s earlier incarnations} called it the New Atlantis) and some of the “Founding Fathers” were, so occult rumor runs, inspired and strengthened by him. There are also stories of a Masonic Lodge directed by the Count, and in which Franklin and others were involved. Benjamin Franklin is qualified by that practical and versatile intelligence which distinguishes the disciples of the Count.


An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.

Moderation in all things -- including moderation.

To be thrown upon one's own resources, is to be cast into the very lap of fortune; for our faculties then undergo a development and display an energy of which they were previously unsusceptible.

Never confuse motion with action. this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.

We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.
- Said to have been declared at the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

I've lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing Proofs I see of this Truth: That God governs in the Affairs of Men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his Notice, is it probable that an Empire can rise without his Aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that except the Lord build the House they labor in vain who build it. I firmly believe this, and I also believe that without his concurring Aid, we shall succeed in this political Building no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our Projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a Reproach and Bye word down to future Ages.  - In speech to the Constitutional Convention (June 28, 1787)

Those who give up liberty for the sake of security deserve neither liberty nor security.

writing his own epitaph (which was not used):
The body of B. Franklin, Printer
Like the Cover of an Old book
(Its Contents torn out And Stript of its Lettering and Gilding)
Lies Here, Food for Worms.
But the Work shall not be Lost;
For it will (as he Believ'd)
Appear Once More,
In a New and More Elegant Edition
Revised and Corrected,
By the Author.


Benjamin Franklin is the epitome of the American Renaissance man. Exceptionally accomplished and pioneering in a multitude of fields, he made significant advances in science, statesmanship, education, philosophy, commerce, printing, medicine, public health, agriculture, and music. He may be most remembered as a patriot and diplomat, scientist and writer; his image is immortalized on the US$100 note.

Born January 17, 1706, he was the 15th of 17 children and characterized as a physically robust youth.  He learned to read at an early age, yet only attended grammar school for two years. By the time he was 10, he was working for his father in soap and candlemaking, and two years later, he began an apprenticeship to his brother James, a printer. For five years he worked at the printers' trade and improved his education, reading classics and developing his writing style. He began authoring, anonymously, editorials under the name "Silence Dogood". He submitted these to his brother's newspaper by slipping them anonymously under the door. Thirteen letters were widely read and acclaimed for their satire.

In 1723, after what is reportedly a disagreement with his brother, he left Boston to join the Philadelphia printing industry. He made friends with the governor of Pennsylvania who encouraged Franklin to go into business for himself, and arranged letters of credit and introductions to those in the London printing industry. While the finances promised were not forthcoming, he found employment in two of London's largest printing houses.

 In 1726 Franklin returned to Philadelphia and married Deborah Read. (They had a son who died at four years of age, and a daughter, who survived them both.) By 1730, Franklin opened his own print shop, continued his writing, and built a publishing and business success. At 26, he initiated his soon popular "Poor Richard's Almanac". This was also written under pseudonym, Richard Saunders, and published from 1732 to 1757. Many sayings of Poor Richard, praising thriftiness, common sense, and honesty, became standard American proverbs. His autobiography (covering his early years), is still considered one of the finest autobiographies.

In 1731, Franklin founded what is considered the first public library, and over the next several years he was instrumental in establishing the first fire department, a police force, and the Academy of Philadelphia. He organized a debating club that developed into the American Philosophical Society.

In the 1740's, Franklin began experimenting with electricity, which led to the invention of the lightning rod. By 1748, he retired from the printing business and dedicated himself to science. His famous electricity experiment, which included flying a kite during a lightning storm took place in 1752. However, his uninterrupted enjoyment of science was complicated by a call to politics five years later. He was elected to the Pennsylvania assembly and held this post for 14 years. In 1753, he was appointed deputy postmaster general, and the following year, he became a Pennsylvania delegate to the intercolonial congress, suggesting uniting the colonies as a defense against the French. This move to unity was considered premature and rejected.

In 1757, Franklin was sent to England to petition the king for the right to levy taxes. He remained in England for the next five years as representative of the American colonies. While he secured the repeal of the Stamp Act, Parliament continued to levy taxes on the colonies. He seriously considered making his home in England, where his scientific attainments, brilliant mind, and social wit and urbanity gained him high regard.

Yet, by 1775, with war seeming inevitable, Franklin returned to America. He was made a member of the Second Continental Congress and helped draft the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson supposed stated that the only reason Franklin didn't write the entire Declaration was because he would include too many jokes.

 In December, 1776, Franklin, age 71, traveled to France to successfully negotiate a treaty of commerce and defensive alliance. He did much to gain French recognition of the new republic in 1778 and remained in France for nine years, working on trade treaties. Franklin became a hero to the French, enjoying the company of diplomats, nobility, honored by Louis XVI, and his portrait was popular with the citizenry.

Franklin returned to Philadelphia in 1785 and two years later became member of the Constitutional Convention. As one of his final public acts, he signed a petition to the U.S. Congress urging the abolition of slavery, just two months before his death. Franklin died on April 17, 1790 at the age of 84. Reputedly 20,000 people attending the funeral. He was acclaimed as "the harmonious human multitude. 

Date, time, place,
and source
Event description Possible significance and comments
January 17, 1706 BORN  
1726 Returned to Philadelphia from London; married  
1731 Founded beginning of first public library  
1732 Began Poor Richard’s Almanac  
1752 Famous electricity Kite experiment He may or may not have done it himself; began investigating electricity in 1740’s
1757 Sent to England to petition King on taxes Spent 5 years in London, enjoying intelligentsia society
1754 Suggested uniting the colonies Determined to be premature
1775 Part of Constitutional Congress Helped drafting of Declaration of Independence
1776 Went to France Enjoyed popular and royal reception for many years.
1785 Returned to Philadelphia Member of Constitutional Convention; signing petition to abolish slavery.
17 April 1790 DIED  

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