Ford was born on the Leo Full Moon, his Sun, Mercury in the 12th house opposite the Moon in Aquarius in the sixth. He had Virgo rising, which you would expect with someone fascinated by how things work, a man who loved building, experimenting and was frugal (at one time Ford even tried to run his own rubber plantation to make his car tyres). The strong Mars in Leo on the Ascendant gave him tremendous self-belief and drive, he was an unstoppable force. This regal Mars can also show extreme vindictiveness when thwarted. His Sun Moon opposition is widely square to Pluto in Taurus which shows the plutocrat, he became immensely wealthy, but also his distrust of accountants which almost brought the company to its knees in the 1940s (Pluto). There is a polarity between his idealistic, hardworking, forward thinking Moon in Aquarius in the 6th and his secretive, huge ego, need to rule, shine and dominate Sun in Leo in the 12th. The fixed signs (Leo, Aquarius, Taurus) show his persistence in spite of repeated failures and his massive self-belief (Leo).
Ford also has a Mystic Rectangle of Moon in Aquarius trine Saturn in Libra, which was sextile Sun, Mercury in Leo, which in turn trines Neptune in Aries. This configuration shows a fated life, working out on a collective rather than an individual level. Undoubtedly, Ford had an incredible life. He was born one of eight children to an Irish family who fled the Irish Famine and became prosperous farmers. That his life was fated is shown by an early tragedy. When he was 13 two events changed his life. His mother died following complications of childbirth, which he described as ‘A great wrong that was done to me.’ Which I think you will agree is an unusual comment, showing perhaps how a favoured Leo son would respond, concerned only with himself.
As we discussed last week, such ‘fated events’ might reveal his daimon or guardian angel at work, steering his destiny away from farming (which he disliked) to the brand new world of machines. And they do. In 1876, Saturn was transiting early degrees of Pisces so it was conjunct his descendant, and his Part of Fortune at 0’Pisces 23′ and his Chiron at 10′ Pisces (not shown).
Three years later at age 16 (December 1, 1879) Ford moved to Detroit for a job in a machine shop and from there to work at the largest shipbuilding company in the Great Lakes. Jupiter was conjunct his Part of Fortune and Descendant at this time, allowing him to grow into his ‘real life’. In 1882 he returned to the family farm when a neighbour was having trouble with the steam engine he had bought. Ford repaired the engine and later said,
‘I went to work around that little engine and getting a grip on the engine, so to speak, I got a grip on myself.’
What a wonderful Virgoan comment, by working with his hands, he found himself.
Later, Ford encountered his first internal combustion engine, known as ‘The Silent Otto’ and was fascinated. He realised that the engine relied on electricity, which he knew nothing about and so he sold the farm and moved to Detroit to work at the Edison Illuminating Co. He used space there to work on his dream engine and on December 24th, 1893, he and his wife Clara got an experimental engine to run using electricity, not steam. With four co-workers Ford set about developing a ‘horseless carriage’ and on 4.6.1896 the Quadricycle was built (see picture at the top). Uranus was transiting his Midheaven showing innovation with technology (Uranus) transforming his career (MC). Jupiter was conjunct his Sun and therefore opposite his Moon on that day, showing clearly his life’s path and the Moon was conjunct his Neptune as his dreams came true.
Determined to manufacture cars on a large scale, Ford twice started manufacturing companies, but both failed. Rather than admit defeat, (those tough fixed signs) he persisted and in 1903 the model A was produced, by the Ford Motor Company with Ford as the only investor. Sadly, after a few weeks, Ford went bankrupt again, unable to pay his suppliers. Eventually, it came good and the model T was launched in 1908.
The first model T was sold to a customer on 1.10.1908 when Jupiter was conjunct his Ascendant (it transformed his image and his life) and Saturn was conjunct his Neptune (dreams becoming reality).
As you would expect with a Sun, Mercury in Leo, Ford was an excellent salesman. To test drive the car, Ford took the Model T on a hunting trip to Wisconsin and courting publicity, drove it up the steps of the State Capitol of Tennessee. Ford began a huge publicity drive in newspapers, he opened dealerships for the car all over the USA and later Europe. These dealers became rich and spearheaded the new hobby of motoring, Car clubs were founded all over the country. Ford created a trend and spread his message about the new, affordable way to travel. By 1914 250,000 cars had been sold, by 1918 half the cars in the USA were Fords. Most Americans learned to drive in a Ford, they were simple to repair and safe to drive and once he began production on a large scale he reduced the price again and again, to make the car available to the middle classes.
On his production line, Ford hired black people, women, and disabled people (uncommon in those days), instituted a five day week and doubled the minimum wage, because he realised it was far too costly to lose staff and retrain new ones and was more cost efficient to keep his staff loyal and permanent. As such he was a proponent of ‘Welfare Capitalism’ a very Aquarian move. He realised working less hours, but harder during those hours, gave workers time and money to buy leisure goods. His staff responded and he did not suffer the labour ‘churn’ of his rivals and the best mechanics in the country came to work for him.
Ford had a vision (Aquarius) of a new way of working. He offered profit sharing to those employees who demonstrated good habits like not drinking, gambling or abandoning their wives and children. Managers investigated workers to see how they behaved socially to see if they were eligable, a large proportion of his workers qualified for this profit sharing. Later the ‘moral’ investigations were abandoned as Ford realised this was a step too far, and instead, concentrated on improving his workers’ lives by being profitable and increasing worker participation. Despite this enlightened approach, Ford was vicious with those he saw as a threat. He disliked Unions and waged a dirty, violent campaign against them.
Ford’s character was light and dark, as one might expect in a Full Moon horoscope, particularly with the powerful Sun in Leo opposing the ideological and detached Moon in Aquarius. One colleague described him as having an exemplary, high moral character but that also,
‘There rages in him an endless conflict between ideals, emotions and impulses as unlike as day and night -a conflict that at times makes one feel that two personalities are striving within him for mastery.’
The dark side was very dark. Ford was an anti-Semite and blamed Jewish bankers for WW1. He bought the newspaper, The Dearborn Independent in 1918, and from 1920-7 he published extreme anti-Semitic rhetoric. So much so that Hitler regarded Ford as an ‘inspiration’ and Ford was praised in Mein Kampf as being independent of these Jewish bankers. Later, friends of Ford claimed he did not read these articles, but this seems unlikely for such a control freak. A campaign was launched by Jews and liberal Christians which had an effect on sales of his cars. In 1927 Ford closed the newspaper and apologised. However, it is claimed Ford did not change his beliefs. A collection of articles from the Dearborn were collected together in a book, The International Jew pubished in 1920, the book was widely read by Nazis. On trial at Nuremburg, leader of the Hitler Youth, Baldur von Schirach (responsible for sending 65,000 Jews to death camps) testified,
‘The decisive anti-Semitic book I was reading and the book that influenced my comrades was … that book by Henry Ford, The International Jew. I read it and became anti-Semitic. The book made a great influence on myself and my friends because we saw in Henry Ford the representative of success and also the representative of a progressive social policy.’
I wonder if this darkness comes from a twelfth house Sun? My understanding of the house, which has a bad rep, is that it is to do with karma or inherited or collective issues. People with 12th house Suns often have lives which are lived in an archetypal way. Ford gave voice to a collective paranoia/hatred which is embedded in Western culture and has been for hundreds of years.
Jews are shown by Saturn (as are the other Abrahamic religions) which in Ford’s horoscope is strong in Libra in the 2nd house and is opposite Neptune in Aries which arguably represents delusions (Neptune) causing cruelty (Aries). Despite his fine mind (Saturn in Libra), Ford had a fixed idea (Aquarius, fixed air) that there was an international conspiracy of Jews (Neptune gives paranoia). Fixed Air can get stuck, like a record in a groove and finds it extremely hard to change its mind, not through ego (Leo) but because it is so hard to admit they were wrong (Aquarius).
The story goes that in 1946 Ford was shown film of the death camps and he was so appalled he collapsed with a stroke, which ultimately lead to his death the following year. At the time Pluto was transiting his Sun at 6’ Leo, suggesting annihilation of the self, or at least the image of himself as the big, noble hearted Leo. A radiant Sun in Leo can cast a dark shadow. Ford’s Neptune was triggered by Neptune at 6′ Libra opposing his Natal Neptune, the revealing of illusion by film (Neptune).
It is interesting how other minority groups were not included in Ford’s hatred, employing Black people, women and the disabled was radical for the time (Aquarius). Perhaps they were not seen as a treat in the way rich Jewish bankers were. Ford’s Aquarius Moon is reflected in his farsighted decision to care for his workers, paying them well, partly because it was the right thing to do and more likely, because his Virgo Ascendant knew it made excellent business sense.
Ford’s overbearing Mars in Leo crushed his only son who died early at age 49. Ford, even though he was 80, took over running the company until he was forced to leave in favour of his grandson. The old lion rarely relinquishes control voluntarily, he has to be neutralised by the young blood. The man of vision had lost his way.