The mere name “Salvation Army” evokes powerful images of aid in times of crisis, charity in times of need, mercy and transformation in the hours of one’s personal deepest, darkest hour. The Salvation Army’s role in social reform during the latter half of the 19th century cannot be underestimated. William Booth, the Salvation Army’s self styled General, who stood in a point of history when suffering was both overwhelming and unnecessary, saw the world in need of radical change Like Petrarch some 400 years before him, Booth was adamant he would make a difference. Together with his wife Catherine, their eight children and the support of close friends, William Booth set out to bring salvation to the lives of the hopelessly poor, the destitute, the homeless and the hungry. From humble beginnings in London’s east end, today the Salvation Army operates in 111 countries, utilising 175 languages and has a well established reputation for being the first organization to arrive in the aftermath of disaster, providing clothes, food, shelter and healing words. At the time of writing, the Salvation Army continues its work in Iraq where it provides food, clothing and shelter to a land ripped apart by war. “The people of Iraq love the Salvation Army because it brings the message of the love of God to the Iraqi people,” said a Shia Muslim spokesperson, demonstrating the Salvation Army’s well deserved reputation for transcending all barriers to bring comfort to the suffering.
The Salvation Army uses a flag with an eight sided, yellow star on a red background with a blue border. Originally, the star was meant to be the sun but the Booth’s changed it to a star as it offended a branch of the Zoroastrian’s when the Salvation Army was first in India. Astrologers would recognise a double grand cross in the star and an emphasis on the fourth and eighth harmonic. John Addey wrote about 8th harmonic: “The numbers four and eight have a special reference to outward events and conditions.” We regard squares in a chart as indicating conflict. The Salvation Army so embroiled itself in conflict that its joint founders, William and Catherine, manifested a child (Kate-see her chart) who had the Salvation Army symbol in her chart shaping–which seems nothing short of miraculous and a testament to the struggles the family faced in their war on sin and poverty.
The Booths achieved so much in their lives together that it is overwhelmingly tempting to uncover their motivation to change the course of history. What makes ordinary people extraordinary? What makes a hero take risks, not just as opportunity arises or once in a lifetime, but over and over again? What, astrologically, can account for such phenomenal success in the extreme adversity the Booths faced nearly every day of their early ministry?
The man who would be the Salvation Army’s Founding Father and first General was born on 10 April 1829 in Nottingham. His own father, Samuel, was a man dogged by financial disaster …