Posted by: Donna Cunningham | September 16, 2013

The Chart of Machu Picchu’s Discovery!

©9-16-13 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

machu-picchuThanks to all my Readers who made the Buy One Get One ebook sale such a success. (The sale continues until the 20th, and you can read about it here: Final Week on Donna’s B.O.G.O. SALE–Buy an Ebook, Get One Free.)

As you may have guessed from my recent post about the mummies of Peru, the Incans and Pre-Incans are a long-time fascination of mine.

I recently found an entertaining and informative book about the trek of Hiram Bingham, the explorer who was the first modern-day Westerner to discover Machu Picchu, the site of an Incan royal city in the Andes. The city is thought to have been built in about 1450.

In his 2012 New York Times best-seller, Turn Right at Machu Picchu, Mark Adams alternates between Bingham’s account of his quest to find the lost city and Adam’s own parallel journey on foot, under the same rugged, demanding, and often dangerous conditions.

The author notes that Hiram Bingham arrived at that site on July 24, 1911 at around noon, after leaving for this last leg of the journey at 10:07 AM. (P.176 of Adams’ book.) Bingham kept meticulous notes and photographed everything, so the time of just past noon was accurate. Could any astrologer resist the temptation to erect a chart for that time? Not this one! You can see it below.


I tried both times, but the noon chart with the Sun at the Midheaven, was absolutely perfect, considering that a main theme of the site was worshipping the Sun god, who was supposedly personified by the Ruler of the Incan state. The Sun in Sun-ruled Leo is the point of a fixed t-square.


machupicchubookThe other two points of the  t-square are Jupiter in Scorpio on the Ascendant and Mars in Taurus on the Descendant. Mars-Jupiter-Sun, to me, could also represent Bingham himself, an adventurer and explorer, a notable one whose great fame was due in great part to showmanship and tireless self-promotion.

The fixed nature of the T-square points to the type of persistent effort getting to the site would have required, given the incredible physical demands of making his way through jungles and up tall and dangerously rugged mountains.

(Bingham himself was born on 11/19/1875 in Honolulu, Hawaii.) Jupiter’s place in the t-square would represent his family lineage, as the third in a line of ministers and missionaries.

Many of Bingham’s claims about his journey have been disputed over the years, and Peru has been suing Yale for the return of artifacts Bingham brought home with him. Considering that transiting Saturn in Scorpio has been in the 12th house of the chart setting off the T-square, but is about to crest over the Ascendant, what might we expect to unfold in the seemingly timeless story of Machu Picchu? 

(See my post about Peruvian and other mummies here: I Must Have Been a Mummy in my Other Life.)

Readers, what else do you see in this chart, and what do you make of it? Leave your observations in the comment section below this post.



  1. I just ran Binghams’s natal chart using a birth time of noon on 11/19/1875 in Honolulu (Koch Houses), and was kind of blown away.

    This chart shows a 27° Scorpio Sun conjunct Sag 0° MC; 20° Aq Saturn and 18° Aq Mars tightly conjunct 20° Aquarius ASC opp 19° Leo Uranus tightly conjunct Leo DSC and loosely conj 26° Leo Moon; 4th house 22° Taurus Pluto opp Sun and 15° Sc Jupiter. Jupiter, Saturn/Mars, and Uranus form a tight T-square, and (depending on “allowable” orbs) might form a Grand Square with Pluto (that with allowable orbs would also include Sun and Moon).

    Not sure of course that he was born at/near noon…

    • Fascinating, Sally. I didn’t have time to run his chart, but with all those fixed signs, he’s a good match for the discovery chart’s fixed t-square. I’m amazed, yet not really surprised that his late Leo Moon is conjunct the Moon in that chart…probably both with Moon conjunct Regulus too. Usually, I might not use noon for a Solar chart, birth time unknown, but with that Leo energy, it might just be right! Thanks! Donna

  2. T-squares and yods – that’s so cool! Good evidence that t-squares are not “bad,” just so high energy they tend to manifest in intense, dramatic ways. Since we so often fear and resist change, the intensity often brings experiences we don’t want – but not always!

    • To me, a t-square has more of a/driven/ quality, as the tension between the three corners keeps people hopping. If you satisfy Corner #1, then corner #2 says, “What about me?” Then if you give Corner #2 what IT wants, then Corner #3 says, “What about me?” And you go around and around, trying to keep all three satisfied.

      But/driven /isn’t always bad–a driven person tends to accomplish a lot in the course of a lifetime. Bingham surely was driven and did accomplish some pretty amazing things. Donna

  3. I wonder if Christopher Columbus wrote down the time he discovered America!

    • LOL! He probably wasn’t as obsessive-compulsive as Bigham (Hmm, I meant Bingham, but he was a big ham all right!) Donna

      • I thougt Saturn in the 7th house meanbt this chart is not to be read?

      • Hi, Barehand, no, that’s a rule for horary charts, where you are trying to answer a question with a yes or no answer. Not for regular charts. Horary is a terrific technique, but it has a seemingly endless number of rules, of which that is one. Donna

  4. Has anyone else noticed that the discovery date was July 24 yet the date on the calculated chart is July 27?

    • Big oops! I fixed that right away, and with this date, the T-square is even tighter and closer to the angles. Donna

  5. Donna,

    Using Whole Signs makes the chart that much more interesting to me. The T-Square moves from a 9th/12th/6th moment to one of a 10th/1st/7th emphasis and is more dynamic and perhaps more appropriate since, as you say “…a main theme of the site was worshipping the Sun god…”

    • Interesting, Johnny. I haven’t worked with whole sign houses, in part because the 4 angles get buried, and on this case, the Sun an the rest of the T-square are on the angles. Donna

  6. I’m looking at that chart from another angle. The opposition of Jupiter in 12thH Scorpio to 6thH Mars and NN conjunct in Aries speaks to me of the decades-long war that Native peoples have had to wage to repatriate the property of their dead and the dead themselves, due to appropriations of same by persons like Bingham. That Peru is suing to recover their patrimony that was stolen by Bingham is no surprise to me. I hope they win their suit and are restored to their ancestors’ property, incorrectly termed as ‘artifacts’ (they are the property of the dead by Native standards) by a colonial power that neither knew nor cared about the cultural and spiritual values of the People who produced those items. I don’t mean to be unpleasant, but this is an issue that is very close to my heart as I am a scarred and grizzled veteran of these cultural property wars which I fought for 23 years, and I cannot find what he did fascinating or interesting in the least.

    It is a painful legacy of all Native Peoples of North, Central and South America, as we have had to witness the looting and colonization of places sacred and dear to us, and then we have had to deal with the foreign values imposed on our dead, their burial property and our very histories and cultures, not to mention the places where our ancestors lived out their lives. Due to the imposition of these foreign values, there is a prevailing acceptance that Bingham’s actions are perfectly fine and even exciting and heroic, given what he had to go through to get to Machu Picchu, but very few non-Natives have learned to consider what his actions did to the People whose homelands he invaded and stole from. Please forgive my bluntness, Donna, but like this chart, I too have Scorpio Rising with Leo Sun and my mars is also in 10thH Leo (similar to the fiery Aries Mars above), and with a packed Cancer 9th, I cannot help but try to teach others that not everyone shares the view that what he did was right, honorable or heroic.

    I don’t mean to make anyone feel uncomfortable or defensive, but maybe it’s time that the Sun shines on how Native Peoples view this and other matters, such as the continued assertion that C. Columbus discovered America. He did not. He was lost and limped into the waters of a country already inhabited and owned by Native Peoples, who treated him with kindness and generosity and were thanked by having their homelands claimed by him in the name of God and having their hands cut off and left to bleed to death until he was brought the gold he craved. My Cancer 9th will not let me forget the true history of the People who are indigenous to the Americas. Thank you for the opportunity to share what this true history shows me in the chart.

    • Pep, thank you for writing that. I am absolutely and totally with you on everything you said. What so-called Western Civilization has done to native peoples around the world is devastating and appalling, and it is no wonder we are hated everywhere. Adams’ book itself makes a very strong statement about Bingham’s disgusting and unfailing racism, documenting it with quotes from his notes. Throughout the book, Adams notes that each set of ruins he encounters along his own trip through the Inca trail had been plundered or knocked down to make way for building some trivial modern thing. Donna

      • P.S. Pep, you are NOT being unpleasant. You are being a hero and a spokesperson, speaking out like that. The TRUTH is what’s unpleasant, and those who don’t like hearing the truth will not like it.

      • Thank you so much, Donna. I just came home from work, where we roasted, dried and shelled our Peoples’ traditional varieties of corn for winter use just like our ancestors have done for millennia. There were times I worried that I might have channeled Eris and brought discord to your blog, which I certainly would not want to do. Thank you for welcoming and validating my viewpoint, and for your further notes on Bingham.

      • All heartfelt, Pep, and you’re welcome to comment whenever–you have a point of view that needs to be heard. Donna

    • Absolutely right on, Pep. And to carry your thought just one step further, the most sacred of all Beings for most indigenous peoples, Mother Earth, has taken a literal beating in the name of those same “forward thinking,” progress at all cost Columbuses who have followed him West and to the ends of the Earth. I’m afraid that mankind has begun eating its own and choking on the spoils. We are ALL in need of some serious help.
      Jumping off soapbox now.

  7. Thank you, Johnny Mirehiel, for your support. I agree that we may already have harmed our Mother beyond her ability to recover. I do like having discussions like this one, though, as it is only through openly speaking with one another that I believe we humans may pull ourselves back from the brink and begin to once again love and honor the great living holy being on whom we all depend for life. If only we can see that in time. And now I will climb down from my soapbox as well, and see what other astrological viewpoints may be offered in this forum. Thanks again.

    • Hi again, Pep,
      While certainly not Native myself (from the “a-WOP-a-ho” tribe of the South Bronx), I have been studying the Red Road for more than twenty years now. During that time I have been taught many things, but chief among them is the Medicine Wheel teachings and the centrality of Mother Earth to them.

      Due to this, when I explicated the Total Lunar Eclipse chart of November 8, 2003, (long time astrologer here) I saw immediately that the Mother was central to its “teachings.”

      Now I don’t mean to use Donna’s forum to promote my pet project, ( but in that chart I saw a moment in which we might successfully offer prayers for the healing and protection of the Mother. This is why I’m calling for another moment, on the 10th Anniversary of that date, for renewd group prayers for Her protection and healing and to “…love and honor the great living holy being on whom we all depend for life.”

      As this idea is pretty basic to Native Teaching, I’d be happy to have your support for that effort, if you’ve a mind. Thanks for listening.

      And Donna, if you find this message is inappropriate for your forum, please feel free to dlete it as I don’t wish to impose myself upon you.


      • Fine by me, Johnny. Donna

      • Thanks, Donna. I appreciate your openness, and wont abuse your generosity.

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