By any standard of measurement, the last few years have not been peaceful ones for the Church of Scientology. Along with a number of scathing books about the church’s practices, the public has witnessed the acrimonious departure of Paul Haggis, an Academy award winning writer and director. In 2011, Haggis and his split with the church was profiled in a long New Yorker article by Laurence Wright. Now, Wright, a Pulitzer-prize winning author, has written a serious and thoughtful examination of Scientology and its founder, L. Ron Hubbard.

While reading the book, I became curious about Hubbard. (Clearly I’m not the only one: last year’s movie, The Master, written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, used Hubbard as a basis for its main character.) At any rate, the birth data for Hubbard was easy to find and it presents a rare opportunity. If we accept that the church is a genuine religion, which the U.S. government does, then we have the birthchart of a religion’s founder. Better yet, we have a lot of Hubbard’s texts, from his days as a pulp writer of hundred of short stories and novels to his teachings about Scientology. Here’s the chart; let’s see what stands out.

Hubbard 1









Given Hubbard’s prodigious output, we look for Mercury, planet of writing and communication (and marked with #1 at the bottom of the chart) and find it in Pisces. Does that make sense, given Hubbard’s history. Very much. By itself, Mercury in Pisces is given to fantasy, imagination, intuition and can be telepathic on a certain level. The thinking is not linear, but associative. In general, Pisces is not considered a good placement for Mercury because the nebulousness of Pisces acts against the Mercury impulse towards clear definition. On the positive side, Mercury here is given to creativity, but negatively there is a risk of illusion, of either deceiving or being deceived.

But there’s more, of course. That Mercury is in a very strong contact with Jupiter in Scorpio (marked with #2 on the chart). In many ways, Jupiter in Scorpio is an occult position; it seeks to get to the depths of things. The contact with Mercury suggests both exaggeration (Jupiter is expansive by nature) and a desire for power through Jupiter’s expansion into deeper matters (Scorpio). Interestingly, a large number of Hubbard’s works turn on issues of power, dominating or being dominated.

But just a little more: Mercury and Jupiter are also in strong contact with Neptune. Once again, we see the heightened imagination, the powerful capacity to think in images, the visionary. But also, we see the risk: an inability to differentiate between what’s true and false. In an old book of German astrology, we come across this description: “may translate the inner images into a language that isn’t understandable or can hardly be understood.”

Obviously a great many church members would disagree with that last quote and that’s certainly their right. But whatever you think of Scientology, Hubbard’s chart – and we’ve barely touched the surface – seems accurate to a high degree. A grand imagination, the fascination with the occult and deeper meanings and a tendency to exaggeration and inflation (for instance, requiring members of the church to sign a billion year contract.) While the church has attacked Wright’s book, it seems to be a rigorously researched and carefully written examination of a highly extraordinary and eccentric human being whose ideas continue to fascinate. Much as he hoped they would.