Eggnog Riot of 1826

Over the last month, despite several personal challenges–packing, moving, trying to unpack while still doing the normal stuff one needs to do in the midst of chaos, working on the laptop while my desktop was in the shop in a futile effort to save the very dead 3/4 TB hard drive two days before the move, and preparing for the holidays…you get that idea–I did all I could to finish my article on the Neptune Stationary Direct (SD) transit that coincided with the deaths of David Cassidy, Mel Tillis, Della Reese, and AC/DC’s Malcolm Young, all literally within a few days. The attempt was useless with minute-by-minute byplays from dear old Murphy, Murphy’s Law, that is.

Although I’d finished the UK portion of the SD analysis, the USA and India still needed to be written, and I let Murphy have his way after the month-long battle. In lieu of that article, however, I learned of a fun bit of US history that’s quite timely. After all, I know of no other time of year when we might partake of some eggnog–with or without the booze in it.

Apparently the prestigious West Point Military Academy in 1826 had a bit of colorful rebellion during the Christmas festivities that year. Parties had been quite common here and there in the years leading up to this–until 1817, when Colonel Sylvanus Thayer decided the time had arrived for the school to display more of an elite, polished image–and that meant no card playing, no booze, no smoking, even reading novels was a clear no-no! I can’t imagine doing without A Christmas Carol if one had wanted to read something along those lines (Dickens or not, this was, of course, still a classic!). Thayer had allowed alcohol on campus however on the Fourth of July and Christmas until the cadets had gone too far in 1825 during a July 4 celebration. That July night, several cadets–most likely quite inebriated–balanced William Worth, the school’s commandant, on their shoulders and carried him back to their barracks. As a result of this incident, all spirits and liquors were now banned at the school.

So during the days leading to Christmas 1826, some cadets spiked some good old-fashioned homemade eggnog with brandy, whiskey, rum and wine they’d smuggled in from local shops and taverns. As the noise swelled in proportion to the numbers of partygoers, Captain Ethan Allen Hitchcock woke and went in search of the miscreants. He apparently arrived just before one of the drunken cadets came to warn the other partiers of the Captain’s approach. A number of students were arrested including future Governor of Mississippi Benjamin G. Humphreys who was expelled; future Justice of the United States Supreme Court (1853-1861) John Archibald Campbell, future Secretary of State of the Republic of Texas (1841) Samuel Alexander Roberts, and Jefferson Davis, the drunken cadet who had tried to warn the other partygoers. Davis, of course, later served as the 23rd US Secretary of War (1853 to 1857) under President Franklin Pierce and then became President of the Confederate States of America. In all, about 70 participated in the revelry that night.

Davis, btw, didn’t learn much from his court martial. His rebelliousness and penchant for boozing even in his teens was well-known, and the only reason he wasn’t one of those who were expelled was his previous “good conduct.” In the summer prior to the party and subsequent court martial, Davis was hospitalized after falling down a 60-foot ravine in his attempt to return to campus from a tavern before a superior realized he was gone.

When Eggnog Sparked a Riot at West Point” was a fun article to read, but so was the Timeline of Events offered on Wikipedia especially with detailed points of dates and times!

I was somewhat surprised to see the Western 2nd quadrant below-the-horizon dominance showing in this chart; but then it hit me that this was the conclusion of the cadets’ actions taken on the night they decided to get the whiskey and so on that night. I believe the rule of thumb here is “For every action, there is a reaction,” and this was certainly the case.

Eighth house Pluto establishes the arm of a Cardinal T-square to the 4th house Sun/Venus-10th house Saturn opposition, bringing to mind that Venus in hard aspect to Saturn is really not the best time to have a party. For that matter, the Sun in 13-minute partile opposition to Saturn offers a strong warning that one needs to pay attention to the responsibilities with which one is entrusted. But while we might see the individual wisdom in avoiding parties and dispensing with responsibilities at these times, the wisdom is just as important to note in the collective, mundane sense–especially when you’ve had warnings as these cadets had! Obviously the mundane won’t always pertain to your personal chart; but when the outer planets are involved in this way, this is one of those times you don’t look the proverbial gift horse in the mouth.

In this particular setting (again, collectively), the more mature approach to the holidays and responsibilities versus the need to break free probably was likely to be careless choice rather than a focused one on rules and self-discipline. Perhaps the cadets had felt so restricted, they had not thought of consequences and had been more concerned about celebrating the holiday. However in the Eggnog chart when placed in the inner wheel with Neptune in the 5th in square to Jupiter in the second house, where we consider values (ethics, morals, etiquette, behaviors and so on), the cadets might have had a difficult time in doing what they were supposed to do and simply decided to cut loose. But take note of 9th house Saturn in the Powell chart below as it forms the conjunction to the Eggnog chart’s Jupiter square to Neptune. The Powell chart’s Saturn is therefore also forming a square to the Eggnog chart’s Neptune, establishing the Peeling of Life’s Onion. I can just imagine the pain those cadets must have felt when they realized this was one of those worst case scenarios! And still, those mutable angles might have been just the impetus for them to have gone with the wishes of the whole group instead of what they individually might have done.

The Powell chart on the inside of the comparative wheel to the Eggnog Rebellion/Riot chart offers us another clear advantage to see the Sun-Jupiter conjunction on the Descendant of the Powell chart not only in opposition to the Powell Moon but now presenting a clear linkage between the bodies of both charts with Venus in an out-of-sign conjunction to the Eggnog Rebellion’s Saturn, the Powell chart’s Jupiter, Sun and even the Part of Fortune (PoF) in opposition to the Eggnog Sun-Venus conjunction to the Ascendant of the Powell chart while Neptune in the Eggnog chart forms a conjunction to the Moon and establishes the interwoven opposition to the planets in both charts on the Descendant. But that’s not all: Take note of Saturn in square to that interwoven maze as well as its conjunction to the Eggnog chart’s Jupiter while the opposition receives a pair of squares in the 3rd house from the Powell chart’s TransPluto which forms a 5-minute conjunction to the Eggnog chart’s Pluto–and the Eggnog chart offers the Powell chart a 34-minute partile Chiron Return!

I might have stopped here, but while the Eggnog Rebellion/Riot chart didn’t catch my eye with even a single undecaquartisextile (165°), when placed against the Powell chart, a beautiful Blooming Undecaquartisextile came through with incredible angles. The Eggnog Rebellion chart shows Mercury Retrograde on the 12th house cusp in a 20-minute partile semisextile to the Powell chart’s Moon, resolving at 29 Gemini 27, forming a 5-minute partile conjunction to the Powell chart’s Venus. While the house placements may not seem evident in the placements as I have the charts in the article, Mercury moves to the 4th house when the Eggnog chart is placed inside, and the Powell Moon moves to the 5th. Together, of course, the conjunction to Venus falls clearly in the 10th house, presenting the clearest problem back then for the academy, for Colonel Thayer, and for 70 young men including those who were court martialed and expelled from the school. The reputation and rigorous demands of the school were at stake. Of course, nearly 200 years after the fact, it offers no shame to the academy, only a delightful bit of trivia that makes us realize how human these cadets were back then–even those who became US Supreme Court justices, governors, Secretaries of States–or President of the United Confederacy of America. i don’t know about you, but I love these little stories. They make the history so much more fun to remember!

Until next time…

Namaste, I love you,

©2017 Michelle Young