The Civil War: Death & Transformation

Civil War Dead AntietamMy husband and I recently watched Death And The Civil War. It was not easy or enjoyable to watch but it was inordinately interesting on a number of levels, in part because of it’s narrow focus.

The viewer essentially watches 620,000 people die in the course of an hour.   There is no way you can watch this and not be impacted. There are a number of points made and theories raised, that really get you to think.

At the beginning of the program it’s mentioned that at the start of the civil war, virtually all Americans believed the same thing (about death). This was a Christian country at that time. The consensus was that you met up with your loved ones in the afterlife.  It would have been hard to find someone who thought anything otherwise.

I was struck by this. I’ve not lived in a time or a place where people held beliefs in common. This is contrast to my husband who grew up in Latin America for half his youth, where essentially everyone is Catholic.

I value diversity.  But with all the division in our culture at this time, and with all the strife and resentment that exists because of it, I can see a real upside to the idea that a community live with a set of rules they agree on.  So this hit me between the eyes.

Thomas Lynch, author of “The Undertaking”, who I mentioned in this post – The Death Business, is featured on this program. He’s always interesting.  At some point he said he felt that the civil war was the beginning of the death of belief in America.  His statement stunned me.

With Pluto transiting my natal Mercury, I am becoming more and more aware of the depth of things.  What if he’s right?

I sat on this for a couple days and then looked at charts in the mid 1860’s. Jupiter was in Scorpio (lots of death, and yes, death of beliefs).  Pluto was in Taurus so death was REAL and earthy.

I haven’t drawn any conclusions about any of this. I just want to tip you to this program if you’re interested in such things. The show is streaming on Amazon, free if you have prime.  I by no means covered what is covered in this deeply affecting documentary.

pictured – The dead of Antietam, photo by Alexander Gardner

15 thoughts on “The Civil War: Death & Transformation”

  1. Yes, I have been looking into Pluto in Taurus. Pluto was also still there in the late 1860’s, when the last naturally caused famine struck in Europe. Jupiter was transiting in Aquarius and Pisces, so I can see there being a natural continuation of a certain process:

    My great grandfather was born in 1854, so he was a teenager at the time. His family survived, but ran into debt, and his oldest brother had to sell their farm. Three others went “to America”, as relatively early Finnish settlers (most arrived from the 1890’s to 1914). So, in a strange way, although they weren’t around to experience The Civil War, they were still affected by a major disaster.

  2. Don’t really know what the beliefs were about death and afterlife at the onset of the Civil War. Each side sure shot the shit out of each other whether they met up afterwards or not. They each had their beliefs, strong enough to secede from the US and cling to their purchased humans. Very tough subject. If it took a civil war to free humans from others enslaving them, and the loss was common belief in something, that’s expansion. That’s what our solar system does. This subject could go on and on, with a Martini.

  3. I love history also, but my favorite era is the last death of belief, (unless you count the reformation) the 4th -6th centuries when the Roman empire was breaking up and monotheistic religions and national.
    governments were filling the vacuums left by the falling away of old institutions.

    I would love to be more aware of the astrology of this period, but I am kindof a novice. It is fascinating though how things change over time.

  4. Yes, I believe it is either extremely hard to maintain faith, or extremely easy, in the faces of so many deaths, atrocities, misfortunes. It actually depends on the person. But, when you see a crushing waves of death, which brings hundreds of thousands persons in nothingness, in a very small amount of time, I think it is definitely a big test of faith.
    Probably why there was a rise in atheism in Europe after the World wars… Don’t know…

  5. That’s exactly what happened after WW1 in England. The slaughter had been so intense, (1 million dead on the Somme in the space of a few days, for example) it led to the break-down of conventional religious belief. Up that point, most people in England were church-goers and they would not have questioned their basic faith in the teachings of the Church of England. It was one of the pillars of society. After that, churches stood empty.

  6. In WW1, Pluto entered Cancer. In WW2, it entered Leo. I presume Pluto corrodes and eats away something that was rotten, but with such heavy influence; it’s like a Hokusai’s wave, and it’s such a force of destruction, so it ate away everything. Even people’s lives…. I once had a dream in which the Death told me to fear not, death is just the beginning of a new life; that’s why destruction is necessary for a rebirth. But heck, why would it matter to someone who lost everything in the war?

  7. Also, I still feel the previous transit Saturn on my Pluto; since I’m not too of Plutonic character, I had a period of psychological suffering. I wonder if I were into criminal activities (and with my chart, I could be a good one :D), whether it would bring worse?
    Or if I were in the war? But who knows…

  8. I’m looking at the chart of the beginning of the siege of Sarajevo, which was officially on 6th April 1992. Saturn in Aquarius was slowly progressing to the square with Scorpionic Pluto… In 1993 it was exact…

  9. If Pluto entered Cancer in WW1, that would make sense. Unlike WW2, the majority of the dead were soldiers, (conscripts, not volunteers). In a sense they had been ripped from their homes, didn’t return, and because of the enormous sex imbalance after WW1, home life would never be the same. In Britiain, they were specifically told they were fighting for their home and families, (not democracy or human rights or anything like that), even though there was no real chance Germany would ever invade. They even had a patriotic song about it: “Keep the Home Fires Burning”.

    After WW1, women got out there and worked because they had to. There was a biological deficit of 9 men to 11 women and most of the men were too sick mentally or physically to do much if they survived. And women never relied on men to make the big decisions for them again because powerful men had got them into the war and their own, less powerful men suffered for it. (I am speaking of Western Europe and Great Britain in particular- it might be different elsewhere).

    WW2 was different: Pluto in Leo, you say. Well that was a war where civilians bore the brunt, not the soldiers, (though obviously they died too), thanks to huge aerial bombardments, starvation and disease. That’s when we were told we were fighting for “democracy” and “the common man”: neither of which mean too much to Leo.

    1. I don’t know; the map of the Balkans certainly changed a lot more after the WW1. And probably the one of the world.
      But the final polarization of the states, on the eastern block, and the western one, was after the WW2, with the erection of the Berlin wall, and splitting of the Germany in two. And of course, the USA really got the upper hand in the interstate relationships within the western countries.
      Pluto in Leo – the shift in power, maybe?

  10. I can definitely see how Pluto in Cancer would alter the shape of people’s home lands: as you say the map of most of the world looked very different after WW1, thanks to the various Peace Treaties. Countries came into existence – legally – and others disappeared or were greatly shrunk. I also think it had a profound impact on the domestic home. That’s when you see the old patriarchal model coming under attack from all sides, basically because it was thought to have failed. People just gave up on the Church, King and Country (in the old sense) and the notion that Daddy Knows Best.

    Pluto in Leo puzzles me: I am guessing it had a lot to do with the emergence of the mass media, the consumer society in the West and the idea of individualism: you are the star of your own little soap opera, lol! Personally, I think power actually drained out of government in the sense of elected representatives at this time, and into the hands of the taste-makers and peddlers of dreams. Maybe Elsa can weigh in here. She’d be way ahead of me in what Pluto in the signs means at this level.

  11. I have nothing to contribute other than I think it is important to talk about this stuff i.e. death, destruction, war, violence.

  12. Avatar

    I feel the same as JazzFest, i have nothing to contribute. It is good to talk about this stuff.

  13. Thanks for pointing the way, Elsa 😉 I am gonna watch it now & dig through some of the other links, as well. Appreciate it!

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