Cesar Chavez – The Fasting Union Leader

Cesar Chavez was a Mexican-American labour leader of the United Farm Workers of America, an advocate of Gandhi’s philosophy, peace-loving and charismatic. He was the child of migrant workers who achieved national prominence when the UFW joined a Filipino farm-work strike protesting abusive treatment. His boycott on grape growers lasted five years and ended only when growers agreed to a union contract, the first big labor victory for migrant workers in the U.S.

Chavez would frequently support his union action with hunger strikes and fasting to gain more attention for the cause. His legacy is immense and his birthday is celebrated in California, Colorado, and Texas as a state holiday, and President Obama proclaimed it as “Cesar Chavez Day”  with Americans being urged to “observe this day with appropriate service, community, and educational programs to honor César Chávez’s enduring legacy “.

What kind of chart might we expect for such a character ? Political rebels often have Uranus or Aquarius strong and people who support the underdogs may well have Virgo or Pisces with Neptune prominent. The peaceful, non violent method of protest points to Pisces / Neptune and this symbolic link is strengthened by the use of fasting as a weapon in the struggle.

Fasting is associated with Lent, which falls under Pisces and is primarily a purification ritual to atone for and disperse any previous sins that have been accumulated during the Zodiac cycle so that the soul can be free to be reincarnated afresh in the new cycle beginning in Aries. Easter is the Aries festival, of the reemergence of life in a new start. The date of Easter Sunday is still calculated by astrological tradition, it being the first Sunday after the first Full Moon after the Spring Equinox ( the beginning of Aries ).

Lent and Pisces is about self sacrifice, the cleansing of the self and giving up of one’s individual ego in service to others. Cesar Chavez’s life is essentially about this Lent / Easter theme, the giving up of oneself in support of the dispossessed in order to bring a completely new start for the farm workers of the USA.

Cesar Chavez

Fascinatingly Cesar Chavez’s chart reflects this Lent / Pisces – Easter / Aries theme. His Sun is in a close conjunction with the politically rebellious Uranus which straddles the Equinox. Chavez’s Sun is at 0 degrees Aries and Uranus at 29 Pisces.

The Piscean theme is strengthened by the fact that he has Neptune rising but even more so by a T Square which has an apex of a Mercury / Jupiter conjunction in the sign.

The other sign that deals with the symbol of resurrection into new life is Scorpio. Scorpio is a much misunderstood sign, it occurs at a time when nature is dying in mid Autumn. To really get an insight into the themes of the sign we have to see it as part of the zodiac cycle. Death in nature is an essential part of life reemerging in Aries. Scorpio is all about descending to the depths of experience in order to reemerge on a new level having seen, faced and conquered the demons.  Of course this is a big ask for any individual and in many ways it is the most difficult sign to be, many fall by the wayside and become seduced by the experience of the deep, failing to transcend and rise above it.

Cesar Chavez had the Moon in Scorpio and was as qualified as any to go into battle this way. This placing also gave him an emotional toughness of spirit and the ability to endure hardship.

Leo Rising gave him leadership qualities but its conjunction with Neptune and the Piscean influence ensured that his would never be a personalised ego driven campaign.

Character is usually indicated by a combination of Sun, Moon and Ascendant but in most cases a T Square will show the main thrust of a person’s life. Chavez’s T Square was based on an opposition between Mars in Gemini in the 10th house and Saturn in Sagittarius in the 4th.

Mars in the 10th would point to someone who would channel most of their personal drive and energy into their career, there would be considerable ambition but in Gemini it would be through communication skills and this placing often creates a great orator.

Saturn in the 4th shows a recognition through personal experience of the hardship and suffering ( Saturn ) of workers on the land ( 4th house ). That these were migrant workers is indicated by Saturn being in Sagittarius. Chavez was one of five children of Depression-era ( Saturn ) migrant farm workers ( in Sagittarius  in the 4th) who witnessed his family being exploited ( again Saturn ) by growers.

He never graduated from high school and said he must have attended about 65 elementary schools as his family moved from field to field for work – a perfect reflection of Mars in Gemini in the 10th house opposite Saturn in Sagittarius in the 4th.

This opposition focuses onto an apex Mercury / Jupiter conjunction in Pisces in the 7th house so his experience and observation of these struggles pointed him towards a compassionate ( Pisces ) journey ( both Mercury and Jupiter ) to achieve balance and equality ( 7th house ). He attributes his humanity to his mother who sent Chavez and his siblings to invite hobos to share their food.

The 7th house is the house of relationships usually marriage and the issues that arise with two people living together but in political terms it is often to do with diplomacy and negotiating skills, the ability to strike a fair bargain with your enemy. An apex Mercury in this house would point to someone who is very adept at communicating in these areas, and an apex Jupiter would bring great success through negotiation. The fact that fasting and non violent action were major tools that Chavez used is reflected in the fact that Mercury and Jupiter are in Pisces.

Cesar Chavez breakthrough in his career and emergence into the public consciousness occurred during Pluto’s transit through his T Square from 1961 – 65.

In 1962 he co founded the National Farm Workers Association with Dolores Huerta, which later became the United Farm Workers, ( UFW ).  They fought the Bracero Program which ensured a constant supply of cheap immigrant labor for growers as immigrants could not protest any infringement of their rights as they would be fired and replaced. Their efforts contributed to Congress ending the Bracero Program in 1964.

 The year 1965 was the peak of Pluto’s transit as it was opposite Chavez’s Mercury / Jupiter conjunction. 

Chavez supported Filipino American farm workers who initiated the Delano grape strike in September 1965, to protest for higher wages. Chavez led a strike of California grape pickers on the historic farmworkers march from Delano to the California state capitol in Sacramento and the UFW encouraged all Americans to boycott table grapes. The strike and attracted national attention and Robert F. Kennedy expressed his support.

The results of Chavez’s efforts came when Pluto opposed the Sun / Uranus conjunction between 1970 and 72. Through its grassroots efforts—utilizing consumer boycotts, marches, community organising and nonviolent resistance—the movement gained national attention for the plight of some of the nation’s lowest-paid workers. By 1970, the UFW had succeeded in reaching a collective bargaining agreement with the table-grape growers, affecting in excess of 10,000 farm workers. The strike was a significant victory for the UFW and the first ever for migrant farm workers.

The UFW also organized the Salad Bowl strike, in 1970, the largest farm worker strike in U.S. history—to protest for, and later win, higher wages for those farm workers who were working for grape and lettuce growers.

During this period Chavez undertook a number of “spiritual fasts”, regarding the act as “a personal spiritual transformation”. In 1968, he fasted for 25 days, and in 1970, Chavez began a fast of “thanksgiving and hope” to prepare for pre-arranged civil disobedience by farm workers.  In 1972, he fasted in response to Arizona’s passage of legislation that prohibited boycotts and strikes by farm workers during the harvest seasons.

1970 – 72 brought a remarkable turnaround in the life of migrant farm workers and the fact that it was all achieved through non violent protest aided by Chavez’s fasting is a clear symbolic link between the end of Pisces and the new life emerging in Aries. The fact that this all coincided with Pluto’s opposition to Uranus ( rebellion ) at the end of Pisces and the Sun ( new life ) at the beginning of Aries is incredible.

In 1986 the Federal Immigration Act required employers to attest to their employees’ immigration status and made it illegal to knowingly hire or recruit illegal immigrants. Chavez was key in getting an amnesty for about three million illegal immigrants who entered the United States before January 1, 1982 who were granted legal status through this act.

Pluto was conjunct Chavez’s Moon in 1986 a transit that works very well symbolically as the Moon in Scorpio can easily reflect an underclass that are operating illegally. When Pluto comes along it completely transforms their status. 

Chavez died of natural causes in 1993 when he was fighting an appeal, having broken a three-day fast to have a vegetarian dinner. The manner of his death reflected his life and was shown by Pluto’s square to his Ascendant / Neptune conjunction at the time.

Throughout his life Cesar Chavez took on the role of non violent protest against inequality. His own personal sacrifices enabled the downtrodden migrant workers at the end of Pisces to emerge into a new legal life in Aries.


The Turning Point in Your Life ?

Astrology and Celebrity – all in the timing



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