Long distance Hiker Emma (Grandma) Gatewood’s Soul Astrology Chart – Post #1

grandma gatewood natal 0 Aries rising
Time of birth is Unknown ~ Chart is cast natural houses; 0° ARIES Rising

Time of birth is unknown according to her granddaughter (per Bette Lou Higgins, author of a book about Grandma Gatewood and an upcoming PBS Special called Trail Magic).  Therefore, I have cast a chart with the natural houses, 0° ARIES Rising.  It shouldn’t be too difficult to rectify this chart sometime in the future which will be my next project as time permits.

Grandma Gatewood hiked the 2,000+ miles of the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine for the first time at age 67. Then she did it twice more and after that the 2,000 mile Oregon Trail followed by many other hikes!

Her life was phenomenal and by all accounts she told her children that that someday they would create a monument to her. They have.

By the way, she raised 11 children according to the books I’ve read about her.  Those book titles are:

  • Grandma Gatewood’s Walk:  The Inspiring Story of the Woman who Saved the Appalachian Trail by Ben Montgomery
  • Grandma Gatewood:  Ohio’s Legendary Hiker by Kellly Boyer Sagert and  Bette Lou Higgins

Her North Node is in Leo–this relates to being recognized in some way for something special.  She was an ultra-light and ultra long distance hiker after working most of her life as hard as any man on the family farm (this according to her daughters).

I have no way of knowing which house her North Node falls in since I do not have her time of birth but we do know that the Sun was in Scorpio on the day she was born — very early degrees.  And most of the day that day the Moon was in Aquarius (it moved into Pisces at 10:30 PM but I’d bet her Moon was culminating in Aquarius).

The North Node in a chart points us toward knowing what the soul intends for the current lifetime and in her case we’re talking about Leo.  Leo is the sign of being recognized for something special (getting attention), creative self-expression and it is (Leo is) also associated with children or being child-like.

I feel quite comfortable saying that the soul’s intentions were likely reached/achieved by her life’s end. This is based upon the books about her that I’ve read.  I feel confident saying that  if those were the directions her soul intended to take (which is what this type of astrology is thought to outline), then the life goal was achieved.  (At least the part that I am able to recognize applying my knowledge of soul astrology and the books I’ve read.)

In an astrological chart one’s natal (birth) Sun sign represents one’s self-concept and how one expresses that outwardly.  The Sun is the dominant factor of our personality and the essence of one’s being. Emma was born with a Sun in Scorpio.

This is a powerful and emotional sign and relates to the archetype of “crisis” and issues of “power” (powerlessness or powerful, both sides of the coin).  Scorpio, ruled by Pluto, also represents what is “taboo” and psychologically intense.

Emma Gatewood hiked the Appalachian Trail the first time at age 67 (my age currently). And then she did it again two more times!
Emma Gatewood hiked the Appalachian Trail the first time at age 67 (my age currently). And then she did it again two more times!

(Correction:  I posted previously that her husband, who physically abused her, was also a Scorpio.  He was actually born with his Sun in 28° Libra — more about this and the dynamic between the two charts in another blog post.)

Emma had 11 children and with the North Node in Leo, the sign that rules children in astrology, this may have fulfilled another possible meaning of a North Node (Soul’s Intention) in that sign.

Pluto, at the time of her birth, was in the sign of Gemini, a sign that relates to travel and communication both.  This would be an easy fit astrologically.  She did communicate a great deal about foot travel, the winged feet of Mercury come to mind here since the planet Mercury rules the sign of Gemini.

Jeff Wolf Green, evolutionary astrologer, writes in Pluto:  The Evolutionary Journey of the Soul that people born with the sign of Pluto in Gemini have experienced the evolutionary necessity to project themselves into the physical environment in order to collect information, facts and data.

Her South Node (past incarnation – past life) is in the sign of withdrawal and internalization, Aquarius.  And in order to balance that withdrawal tendency of the past, the signature read out there is that the soul’s intent for her life was about making broader and larger connections in the immediate physical environment.

This Pluto in Gemini signature also indicates that Emma Gatewood has developed (from previous lifetimes) mental powers and intellectual abilities–the strong ability to deduce information has been developed.

Her birth chart tells us something else. There are (what we call in soul astrology)  ‘skipped steps’ or some frustrations and limitations that occurred in past lives–things left undone or incomplete for various and a sundry reasons.   Here the soul astrologer usually tries to piece together a story from the chart.  And with the South Node Aquarius and it’s ruler (Uranus) in the sign of Libra, intuition combined with what I know of astrology hints strongly that her unfinished business had to do with trauma (Uranus) in relationships (Libra) — Uranus is in Libra and  it rules the South Node Aquarius. Astro-babble aside, it appears that there was some type of  trauma in the past stemming from what may have been a relationship issue that repeats in her life in order to come to some conclusion or to be resolved.

Jupiter and Mercury square the the Lunar Nodes

What else may have been left undone or uncompleted or underachieved by this particular soul from prior incarnation (s)–?  Whatever it was relates to the two planets that are making a square aspect to the Lunar Nodes.  This is basic, according to the theories of Soul (Evolutionary) Astrology.

mercury_hermesAnd those planets are Jupiter and Mercury both in the sign of Scorpio.  So we there is a lot of Scorpio energy in this chart:  Sun, Jupiter and Mercury are all in the sign of Scorpio at her birth, infusing her psyche with “all things Scorpio”.

Both Jupiter and Mercury relate in some way to travel–Jupiter correlates with long distance travel and Mercury shorter distance travel.  Jupiter is the higher octave of Mercury and in the natural zodiac the houses that they rule are opposed to one another or said another way, linked.

Emma (Grandma) Gatewood, as a result of her famously noted Mercury winged-footed travel on trails in America (she appeared on local newspapers and TV shows of that era.  She was featured by Sportsman Illustrated, the Today Show, the Art Linkletter show and Groucho Marx) traveled both short and long distances in her life.  Mercury relates to communication and Jupiter relates to beliefs and also relates to nature or the natural world.  Jupiter rules Sagittarius which is very much associated with nature.


My interpretation of the basic Pluto in Gemini with Jupiter and Pluto square to the nodes is this:  Personal identification with a new idea and giving voice (Leo and Gemini) to that idea (hiking) and getting attention for it!

A female hiking the trail was a new idea, just as the Appalachian Trail itself was at that time.

Source Google:  When Emma Gatewood set out to hike the Appalachian Trail, no woman — and only five men — had ever completed a thru-hike. In 1955, the 67-year-old grandmother of 23 finished the hike and earned herself the nickname “Grandma Gatewood.”

This is all the time that I have for today as I spent a few moments taking a first glance at Emma Gatewood’s chart while typing out a few notes that come to mind.

I plan to revisit her birth chart again in the future.  And that of her husband’s as well, including the dynamic between them.