The astrology of Jim Jones (part 1)

I gave a presentation in 2014 about cult leaders Jim Jones and Marshall Applewhite. They were born a few days apart in 1931. We have ‘AA’ rated birth data for both from

My presentation looked at their respective life journeys mainly using the astrological technique, Solar Arc Directions. Historical information about Jones came mainly from Tim Reiterman’s excellent book, Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People (Amazon link).

Both of Jones and Applewhite joined their followers in mass suicides. Jones’ in November 1978 at Jonestown, Guyana with about 900 others. Applewhite with 38 followers in March 1997 at Rancho Santa Fe, California.

In this post, the first of several on Jones and Applewhite, I’ll take a look at Jones’ natal chart, his horoscope. In following parts, I’ll match key events in Jones’s life to Solar Arc Directions.

According to, Jones was born at 10:00pm on the 13th of March, 1931, in Lynn, Indiana.

Natal horoscope of Jim Jones.

Natal horoscope of Jim Jones.

The first thing I noticed about Jones’ chart was how it clearly reflected Jones’s views about his father. Jones Snr was a former road worker, who got gassed in WW1, permanently damaging his lungs. This made him unable to return to work. Jim Jones resented his father on many levels. Two were that his Dad didn’t work (in a time and place where most did), and he had withdrawn from engaging with his son and family. In short:

‘To little Jim, his father was a bitter and cynical man, engrossed in pain and debilitating self-pity’. (Reiterman, p17)

To look at his father astrologically, we look at the 4th house cusp, which is Aries. Aries is ruled by Mars. Mars is in Leo, in the 8th house. The 8th is traditionally an ‘unfortunate’ placement, because it’s to do with ‘death’, not necessarily literal. Jones’ father was ‘dead’ to him. And the self-pity is perhaps denoted by Mars being in Leo, which is a self-interested sign of the zodiac. This Mars is significant – in a later post, I’ll show how it connects Jones’ to Guyana and Jonestown.

Mars is also the ruler of Moon, Uranus and Venus in Jones’ chart. These planets get their ‘cues’ from Mars. Venus rules the 10th house of career, and ‘Mother’. So there’s a connection between the resentment for his Dad, and the ‘vocation’ he chose. Unlike his Dad, Jones wanted to ‘be somebody.’ Venus in Aries in the 3rd house, shows his Mother as a headstrong survivalist (which she was) who worked (when most women didn’t).

Venus also rules Jones’ 5th house of pleasure, and his Mercury and Sun. That the Sun is right on the 5th cusp, is indicative of his sexual proclivities. He had sex with whoever and whenever he wanted among his followers – male and female. He saw sex as his right, his duty.

His Sun is square to his natal Saturn. This puts the brakes on the Sun’s passions, challenging Jones to conform to an conventional external presentation, despite having more extravagant aims behind the scenes. These were opposing energies in Jones’ life, the pressure of which eventually pushed him in destructive directions. He found it increasingly hard to manage both the public persona (Ascendant, Saturn) and his real self (Sun).

Another chart feature is Saturn in the 1st house, ruling his Ascendant (or ‘rising sign’). And that the Ascendant forms a trine aspect to Neptune. The Ascendant is partly about ‘how we come across’ to others. This combination gives Jones the outward veneer of respectability, Saturn and Capricorn being giving a conservative presentation. Indeed, in adulthood he sought to ingratiate himself in to conservative political circles, including crossing paths with former First Lady, Rosalynne Carter. Despite his twisted personal politics, Jones’ could give the appearance of a conservative and conventional evangelical minister.

The trine to Neptune is perhaps indicative of his ability to lie. He was a chameleon, a great deceiver. And he said what people wanted to hear. He lived by ‘The ends justified the means.’ He would think nothing of fake healing in his church services, or lying to get his way.

‘What you need to believe in is what you can see … If you see me as your friend, I’ll be your friend. [If] you see me as your father, I’ll be your father … If you see me as your savior, I’ll be your savior. If you see me as your God, I’ll be your God.’ (Source: Former Temple member Hue Fortson, Jr. quoting Jim Jones, in the video, Jonestown: The Life and Death of the People’s Temple (YouTube link)

One final feature of this chart is the Jupiter-Pluto conjunction in the 7th house. Jupiter-Pluto is the ‘millionaires syndrome’ and people with this signature are often wealthy, and/or take big gambles. Jones was both. And what did he gamble with? The 7th house is the house of ‘other people’ and that’s exactly his currency.

In summary, Jim Jones’ was born into a difficult family situation, that he experienced as isolating and shameful. He was obsessed with death from an early age, and his resentment towards his father was there his entire life. His need for willing devotees around him, fed his insecurities and lust for power. His deception and lying increased, even when he built Jonestown in Guyana and proclaimed it the ‘promised land.’ Fear and paranoia (perhaps Jupiter-Pluto) about people ‘out to get him’ and People’s Temple led to the mass suicide by poison, which he told his followers was a ‘revolutionary act.’


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