Posted by: Donna Cunningham | August 5, 2009

Your Birthday Headlines: A Day In The Life

©2009 by John Townley and Susan Wishbow Townley

 Donna says: I once found the Saturday Evening Post for the week I was born at a flea market.  I still look at it and find it meaningful that it’s all about gearing up for WWII and that the cover girl is Rosie the Riveter. When I went to recently to find out what my old colleague John Townley is up to these days, I was much intrigued and amused by this piece about the significance of the headlines for the day you were born.  It’s reprinted with John and Susan’s permission from their rich collection of articles.  Here’s what they say:  

 Comedian Steve Allen, who was also an astronomy and science buff who spent many years debunking astrology and other related arts, once sarcastically remarked, “You could learn more about yourself from reading the newspaper of the day you were born than you ever could from a horoscope.” A provocative thought, especially to an astrologer!

Far from being a dismissal, it goes to the heart of the doctrine of beginnings which is fundamental to astrology. If much of your character is shaped by the form of the heavens on your day of birth, then the events under those same heavens should logically partake of much the same style. As above, so below…Perhaps that partly explains the popularity of that perennial gift item: a framed newspaper commemorating a birthday, anniversary, etc.

oldnewsrooseveltWe happened to be writing some promo for The New York Times Sunday Magazine advertising section not long ago, when we had the opportunity to review a mail-order firm doing just that – selling carefully preserved and packaged original newspapers. Not just front pages, mind you, but the whole editions, with radio listings, ads, obits, and all – your choice of dozens of major newspapers all the way back to the turn of the century. Seeing the chance for some first-hand research, we rang up the proprietor, who generously provided us with a copy for each of our birthdays, plus one for President Clinton, and we were off on our road to hopeful self-discovery.

We started by correcting a mistake one of us had made years ago when following this same thread – this time we picked the edition dated the day after each birth, since that is the edition that reports what went on the day before, the birthday itself.  For Bill Clinton, born August 19, 1946 we used August 20. We wound up with two copies of the New York Times and one of the New York Herald Tribune and started digging.

But this is all a little bit too subjective – we know our own lives inside out and probably could find something in common with any day’s headlines. So how about someone who’s better known to the public at large and not as intimately known to us? That’s why we picked Clinton. He’s as open (or closed) a book to you as he is to us.

Lacking an issue of Hope, Arkansas’ newspaper, we went to the New York Times, courtesy of our benefactor. Glad to be there, too, as it’s a bigger paper than most Tribune and printed on much more enduring paper, so it doesn’t fall apart in your hands so much. Clinton was born August 19, 1946, so we used the August 20 Times.

As most are aware, since the President’s chart is so well known, this day was full of aspects, both major and minor. The biggies were a close conjunction of Mars, Neptune, and Venus, and a wide conjunction of Saturn, Mercury, and Pluto with Mercury exactly at the middle, plus a tight trine of Jupiter and Uranus. The minor aspects abound, and include: Sun semisquare Venus, Mercury sextile Venus, Mars, and Neptune, Sun nonile Mars and Neptune, Uranus nonile Saturn, Venus sextile Pluto, Moon quintile Saturn, Jupiter quintile Pluto, and Uranus septile Pluto.

We were greeted with a newspaper chock full of news, especially including international involvements that this future president would have to deal with much later, then very much in their developmental stages. On the front page alone we met with local primary elections due the next day, and problems with China, India, the Mideast, and the Balkans, menus for what Clinton would have to deal with in his presidency. Page three added South Africa, Japan, and Malaysia. It was an unusually big day for world news.oldnewselvisdead

Future domestic issues abound as well, especially pages of tobacco advertising, not the least of which that big cigar down in the corner of page 25, and an article about the price of cigars about to rise sharply! More to the real political point, on the last page The American Tobacco Company loses a suit for $347,607. In parallel vein, on the same page, long-time foe of the Democrats right-wing Senator Edwin C. Johnson of Colorado resigned, passing the wand, so to speak to the likes of Newt Gingrich and Bob Livingston who would do so later.

Of particular note, considering the Mars/Venus/Neptune conjunction is that good movies abounded: The Marx Brothers’ Night In Casablanca, Hitchcock’s Notorious, Bette Davis in A Stolen Life, Paul Heinried in Of Human Bondage plus a variety of other entertaining B movies like Seventh Veil, Whistle Stop, Kitty, and Arabian Nights. Broadway was aglow with live hits like Carousel, Show Boat, Life With Father, Song Of Norway, Annie Get Your Gun, and Oklahoma! An appropriate birth time for charm and showmanship…

Books being reviewed were a bit more presciently ominous, such as All The King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren, or humorously prescient like Eve’s Second Apple, described as “a rib-tickling, hilarious blend of sin, sex, and satire.” Even fashion was future-forecasting that day, with a Russek’s ad modeling “our Left-bank Berets” jumping Monica-like off of page five, with a very, very steep price tag…

Even the sports page has something to offer in the way of future forecasting, with “Arkansas Golfer Sets Pace With 65,” though the food page, featuring petite marmite, is rather above Clinton’s penchant for fast food. Education news was touting international scholar exchange, which was to give Clinton his education and draft deferment. But most of all, like the sky above, the world below was chock-a-block with numinous events full of future implications, especially to those who would have to deal with the government and changing culture generations later.

No one would try to argue that this hopefully amusing tale of birthday papers is a Q.E.D. for “as above, so below,” or that our earlier-mentioned comedian was right in saying that the New York Times is on a par with a well-interpreted horoscope. Nevertheless, it certainly does suggest that things on any given day are more all-of-a-piece than one might surmise…and those born then – well, they’re just some of the reflecting, interacting pieces that may grow from it.

If you’d like to try this out for yourself and are lucky enough to live in a metropolis with very complete library microfilm files, you can explore your own day of birth for free at the public library or  the newspaper itself. Or, there are various places on the Web that will sell you complete originals of past newspaper editions for a fee.oldnewsobamainaug

 (Donna’s Note:  There’s a book that shows the headlines from the NY Times from 1851-2009 here:

About the Authors: this article by John and Susan Townley first appeared in Dell Horoscope Magazine, June 1999/ (See the whole post at: Your Birthday Headlines .) Early in his astrological career, John Townley introduced the composite chart technique for analyzing relationships in his book The Composite Chart, and twenty years later wrote the definitive work on the subject, Composite Charts: The Astrology Of Relationships. He has pioneered techniques for astrological cycle analysis and proposed a new, physical basis for astrology. He is also the author of Planets in Love, Dynamic Astrology, and Lunar Returns, has been the president of the Astrologers’ Guild of America, was the editor of The Astrological Review, and is a contributor to professional and popular astrological magazines.

 Susan Townley has been astrological columnist for the leading paper of Long Island’s prestigious North Shore and co-hosted one of America Online’s first live astrology shows. A personal advisor who thinks outside of the box, she uses astrology together with Tarot as a gateway to bring clarity and understanding to others’ lives. Upon occasion, Susan tag-teams with her widely-published astrologer husband John Townley to give a special “He said, She said” combination of astrological and psychic reading that mixes broad life analysis with intimate personal insight. When people feel their most vulnerable, that is when Susan’s brand of creative self-awareness kicks in, giving clients new opportunities to feel better about themselves and attain personal and spiritual growth.


  1. I absolute believe that the profoundest wisdom is delivered within the context of humour, so Steve Allen’s sarcastic crack, “You could learn more about yourself from reading the newspaper of the day you were born than you ever could from a horoscope”, is not so much provocative as thought-provoking.

    One doesn’t even need to track down a newspaper, simple Google the date of your birth and check out the ‘headline news’ on Wikipedia.

    I was born in March 1961 and there is this offering: As MAD Magazine pointed out on its cover for the March 1961 issue, this was the first “upside-up” year—i.e., one in which the numerals that form the year look the same as when the numerals are rotated upside down—since 1881, and the last until 6009.

    Very mooreeffoc, no? Seeing things from a different perspective. Signposts are everywhere and I just love the skeptics because, whether they like it or not, whether they care to admit it or not, they come out with some pretty sharp insights.

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