Sunday, December 1, 2013

Forgotten Women of History ~ Martha Johnson Patterson by Joan Porte


Today we continue our astrological look at forgotten women of history with Martha Johnson Patterson, daughter of the 17th President, Andrew Johnson. One of the quickest ways to disappear into the mists of the past is to be a relative of an unpopular politician. Your personal accomplishments never outweigh the memory of the person the country would like to erase. This was the case with Ms. Patterson, eldest daughter of a highly unlikeable and eventually impeached president.

Born October 25, 1828 in Greenville, Tennessee, family records indicate that her birth-time was around 2:00 AM. As I mentioned yesterday, as a karmic astrologer who tracks the soul’s progression from life to life, I pay very close attention to the South Node, the marker of our past life personality. Because we remember that life subconsciously, we look to it again for our personality traits.

Ms. Patterson’s South Node was in Aries, the sign of pure drive. Ruled by the planet Mars named for the god of war, Aries are determined achievers who refuse to quit. If the time of birth is correct, her Aries South Node was in the eighth house, the house of death, rebirth, and regeneration. It was her rebirth and regeneration of the White House that should have earned her historical prominence.

Although Johnson’s wife, Eliza, was alive during his turbulent presidency, she was an invalid. The duties of White House hostess fell to her daughter Martha who was the wife of Senator David Patterson.

The Civil War years had ravaged the building. Troops slept in the East Room marking their paths with the dirt and horse manure that clung to their heavy boots. During the six weeks after the Lincoln assassination, with Mary refusing to leave the White House, souvenir hunters rampaged through the house taking everything including snippets from curtains.

With very little Congressional money to refurbish the Mansion, Martha worked tirelessly along with the staff, to pull up the rugs wash, dry and recut them to look presentable. She mended curtains and scoured the tobacco-stained floors with lye.

She supervised the building of a colonnade off the East Entrance, marking the beginning of what we know as the “East Wing.” She installed water closets for staff and ordered the destruction of old and dangerous stables.

Ms. Patterson instituted several changes still in place to this day, such as having a permanent steward with an office located on the first floor of the mansion. She also started the first White House tours and ordered the rugs protected with oilcloth when people came through. She created a political stir when she had guards stop someone snipping off a piece of an East Room curtain and forever forbade that practice. Although office seekers strolled freely through for a few more generations, she was the first to limit their effects on the building. Finding forgotten pictures of past presidents in the attic, she had them hung around the State Floor, starting the tradition of presidential portraits in the White House.

It is no surprise that her North Node*, her soul’s desire, was in Libra, in the second house. Both Libra and that house vibrate to Venus, the goddess of beauty and creativity. The second house is that of safety and security. She used her Aries drive to bring beauty, to the Nation’s home after years of war and death. Thus, she fulfilled her “goal” of using the South Node attributes in service to embody the North.

Had she a chance to see my cookbook, “Signs of the Tines: The Ultimate Astrological Cookbook” I would have referred Ms. Patterson to the section on Libra. My Duo of Roasted Butter Nut Squash and Apple Soups would make a lovely addition to the many casual Johnson White House luncheons.

Tomorrow we will pay homage to the Rosie the Riveter generation.

 *For more information on the North and South Node visit my website,
Joan Porte is the author of “Signs of the Tines: The Ultimate Astrological Cookbook.” It is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and  For karmic soul chart readings contact Joan at or visit her blog at
Download her podcast Astrological Cooking at

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