On December 1, 1955, an African American seamstress named Rosa Parks boarded a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama, and stepped into history. At the time, buses were segregated, with “Whites Only” sections up front that were created by movable signs. If the white section filled up, drivers adjusted the markers and asked already seated black patrons to move further to the back. Parks, who according to custom paid her fee up front, then exited the bus and re-entered through the rear door, had initially sat in the black section, but when the driver expanded the white area and requested she vacate her seat, she refused.
The driver warned her, but Parks refused to budge. Police were called, and Parks was arrested. Word of her humiliation galvanized the local black community to boycott city buses (where they constituted 75% of the ridership), an embargo they maintained for more than a year, until a Supreme Court decision ruled the city laws unconstitutional and segregated transportation was eliminated. Rosa Parks became a rallying point and an icon of the growing Civil Rights movement, which paved the way for federal equality legislation a decade later.
In her autobiography, “My Story” (1992), Parks describes her stance: “People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”
Born Rosa Louise McCauley on 4 February 1913 at 5:12 AM CST in Tuskegee, Alabama (Rodden Rating C), Parks’ destiny seems written in the stars. Two points are at station in the birth chart: asteroid Karma, which at 18 Gemini is trine the 15 Aquarius Sun and turned direct a week before her birth; and asteroid Parks at 21 Libra, also trine the Sun (creating a Grand Trine), which turned retrograde a day after her birth. Stationary points exert an influence on character or biography out of proportion to their typical impact, and Karma in this stance indicates a fated role to play at some point in the life. Parks, her husband’s name, by which she would become famous, had showed its prominence 19 years before their marriage made it a pivotal element of her bio, and 42 years before she was thrust into the spotlight.
The bus seating incident and arrest had occurred on the Cleveland Avenue route in Montgomery; Parks’ nativity sports a T-Square of asteroid Bus at 7 Taurus opposed asteroid Montgomery at 1 Scorpio, with asteroid Cleveland on the fulcrum at 28 Capricorn, in an out-of-Sign square to each.
The bus driver was James Blake, with whom Parks had formerly had a run-in. In 1943, 12 years earlier, Parks boarded Blake’s bus and paid the fare, then moved directly to a seat, but Blake told her to follow city rules and enter the bus again via the rear door. When Parks exited the vehicle, Blake drove off without her; Parks waited for the next bus, determined never to ride with Blake again, but failed to recognize him when she boarded his bus in 1955.
Blake’s fated importance to her story is seen in asteroid James, which at 16 Aries bisects the Sun/Karma trine, sextile to each, and in asteroid Blakesmith (a CNA, or Compound-Name Asteroid, comprised of first and last names strung together as one word), which is exactly conjunct the Sun at 15 Aquarius. The Sun also squares asteroid Blakehord at 17 Taurus, itself broadly conjoined Bus. Solar connections from PNAs (Personal-Named Asteroids, including the subset of CNAs) indicate individuals who will be pivotal to the individual at some point in the life.
Within orb of the Sun is Mercury at 8 Aquarius, engaged in an exact triple conjunction with asteroids Icarus and Black, and Uranus at 4 Aquarius. Mercury rules transportation, Uranus rules protest; Parks knew she was taking a risk (Icarus) of arrest in refusing to move, but was willing to take it, to advance people of her race (Black).
Other points of note include a cluster of natal asteroids: Themis and Brown with Saturn, at 23, 24 and 27 Taurus, symbolizing Parks’ quest for justice (Themis, named for the Greek goddess of justice) relating to the oppressive laws (both Saturn) governing darker-skinned citizens (Brown). Asteroid NOT opposed from 1 Sagittarius depicts her refusal to move from her seat. Natal asteroid McCauley (her maiden surname) at 12 Capricorn conjunct asteroid d’Arrest at 15 Capricorn and Mars at 18 Cap, squared the stationary Parks at 21 Libra, suggests a propensity to fall afoul of the law at some point, due to actions taken (Mars).
When Parks was arrested on 1 December 1955, the Sun and Mercury were again conjunct, as at birth, at 9 and 7 Sagittarius, reiterating the theme of transportation as central to self-identity or actualization. Remarkably, asteroid McCauley is now standing still from its station at 11 Leo, symbolically refusing to budge, just as Parks was in her birth chart, reflecting her decision to remain in her seat.
Parks entered the bus at approximately 6 PM CST, and a chart cast for then shows a precise T-Square of asteroid NOT at 29 Pisces on the fulcrum, squared the Ascendant/Descendant axis at 29 Gemini/Sagittarius, once again portraying her attitude of refusal, in that precise moment. Even more incredibly, the Ascendant forms part of an exact Grand Trine, with trines to asteroid Rosa at 29 Aquarius and an exact pairing of Neptune with asteroid Bus at 29 Libra. Mars conjoins Neptune/Bus from 1 Scorpio (the degree of asteroid Montgomery in her birth chart), suggesting a passive (Neptune) activism (Mars) on the city (Montgomery) transport system (Bus), involving Parks (Rosa), which could have led to prison time (Neptune).
There are two Kites formed from the Grand Trine, helping to steer its manifestation – the first shows Pluto opposed Rosa from 28 Leo, indicating Parks owning her personal power (Pluto) in the incident. The second involves asteroid Blakehord (another CNA representing Blake) with Venus at 1 and 2 Capricorn on the Descendant, showing the driver and the civic segregationist values (Venus) he was enforcing. These various elements recombine in a Yod, or Finger of Destiny, with NOT at the Apex, inconjunct to both Pluto and the Neptune/Bus conjunction, suggesting a fated component to the situation.
Driver James Blake’s pivotal role in the moment is seen in asteroid Blakesmith, angular at 14 Pisces on the 12 Pisces MC and opposing asteroid Nemesis at 10 Virgo on the IC, reuniting Parks with her former driver adversary (Nemesis). As well, asteroid Rosa broadly conjoins asteroid James with Themis at 22 and 21 Aquarius, T-Squared Pluto and Saturn (laws) at 25 Scorpio, with asteroid Black at 19 Scorpio, uniting (conjunction) her (Rosa) with the driver (James) and the theme of justice (Themis), in conflict with the restrictive laws (both Saturn) governing African Americans (Black).
Another descriptor of the event is an opposition from asteroids Cleveland and Parks at 22 and 23 Cancer to asteroids d’Arrest, Icarus and Montgomery at 16, 19 and 24 Capricorn, in a Grand Cross with Neptune/Bus/Mars and asteroid Justitia, named for the Roman goddess of justice, at 20 Aries. This indicates the risk (Icarus) of arrest (d’Arrest) for Parks (Parks) on the Cleveland Avenue (Cleveland) bus (Bus) in Montgomery (Montgomery), while fighting (Mars) for equal treatment (Justitia). Note also that Parks had experienced a “d’Arrest Return” just days before, with the asteroid reactivating its natal degree of 15 Capricorn, and stimulating the attendant potential for arrest.
When Rosa Parks passed at age 92 on 24 October 2005, just weeks shy of the fiftieth anniversary of her bus seating protest, asteroid Bus was stationary at 4 Pisces, having turned direct just three days prior. Bus opposed Parks at 0 Virgo and squared Rosa at 11 Gemini (with Parks conjoined natal asteroid Anubis at 3 Virgo, named for the ancient Egyptian deity ruling funerary rites, and squared natal asteroid Atropos at 2 Gemini, named for the mythic Greek Fate who severs the thread of life at death). Asteroids Brown with McCauley at 5 and 9 Sagittarius create a loose Grand Cross. A Jupiter/Sun conjunction at 29 Libra and 1 Scorpio exactly matched the Neptune/Bus and Mars conjunction from her arrest (highlighting/Sun the celebrity/Jupiter she attained from that transit protest/Bus), with the Sun also conjoined her natal asteroid Osiris at 2 Scorpio, named for the Egyptian god of the dead.
In 1999 Parks received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest award given by the US legislative branch, engraved with “Mother of the Modern Day Civil Rights Movement.” After her death, officials in Montgomery announced that the front seats of their city buses would be reserved with black ribbons in honor of Parks until her funeral, and her casket was transported to Washington DC by a bus similar to the one in which she made her protest, to lie in honor in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol, the first woman to be so honored. Rosa Parks’ act of passive resistance and protest is a shining example of how one individual can galvanize a movement and change the course of history.