Wednesday, May 26, 2010
No study of the first ladies of the United States would be complete without mention of a woman who technically never was first lady but who made tremendous changes to the White House and implemented policies still in use today. Martha Johnson Patterson, eldest daughter of President Andrew Johnson, served as her father's hostess because her mother, Eliza, was too ill and spent most of her years as first lady in seclusion.
Andrew Johnson of Tennessee was made Abraham Lincoln's Vice President when he ran for a second term in 1864 for basically one reason - he was the only Southern Senator who did not back secession. Not much was expected of him, particularly after he showed up at the inauguration feeling little pain thanks to a little too much alcohol intake. However, the world spun around on April 15, 1865 when at 6:00 AM Abraham Lincoln succumbed to an assassin’s bullet. Suddenly, the man from Tennessee, who barely knew how to read as an adult, became President of a divided, bleeding, mourning country.
The Presidency of Andrew Johnson was less than successful; however, Martha took command of the White House which had suffered from a great deal of neglect. It was customary for people to take souvenirs of their White House visits including snipping fabric off of the curtains. In addition, Mary Lincoln had refused to move out for months after her husband's death and visitors had pretty much stripped the public rooms of just about everything. Couple these problems with the wear and tear of a War which saw troops bivouacked in the East Room and you can imagine what she walked into in early June 1865 when the Johnson family finally arrived from Tennessee.
The time of Martha's birth is unknown but she was born on October 25, 1828 in Greenville, Tennessee. Through some rectification*, I place her birth time at 2:00 AM giving her a Virgo ascendant. I have been studying Martha for years and she is amazingly secretive having given up very little of life to letters or diaries. Even in her day she was known to guard her privacy fiercely and speak willingly only about her beloved father. She was a woman of actions not words. What actions she took! With all of that Virgo worker energy, Martha rolled up her sleeves, pulled up the carpets and took down the curtains - scrubbed them herself leaving them to dry on the South Lawn - and then replaced them.
She used her fixed Scorpio Sun energy to institute new policies many of which are still in use today. First, she ordered the carpets to be covered with runners so that visitors would not tear them up. She also began to prosecute people who snipped pieces of the curtains for souvenirs or took a memento or two from the White House! The money saved by her smart programs has been immeasurable because no longer would the government have to replace nick nacks every year.
Looking closely at her chart, we see her Venus - her creative energy- was also in Virgo. She was all about duty and organization and getting the job done. She also married a very serious minded man who became a member of the Senate. That non nonsense Virgoan energy transmitted to her romantic life too.
Martha would smile at Michelle Obama's garden because she too had one made on the White House grounds and saved the government money by using its produce. (She also had cows and I think a goat or two something Mrs. Obama wouldn't get away with today in urban D.C.)
You can see that she had several big red aspects - squares throughout her chart - squares being difficult aspects --things that must be overcome. Her life was NOT easy. The sufferings her family took from both sides of the Union were enormous and her devotion to her father was so great that it pained her to see him so abused and then impeached by the radicals in Congress.
With her North Node in Aries in the 8th house her goal if you will for her life was to find her personal power and I think it is safe to say that she achieved that. It is one of the curses of history that because of her father's failures, the country has forgotten the contributions made by this amazing woman. Hopefully, some day she will receive the recognition which she did not seek but so greatly deserved.
*Rectification is the process of determining birth time by looking at important dates in a person's life and a study of their personality.
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