The Role of the Least Aspected Planet in Astrocartography.
Planetary Symbolism in Astrocartography and Transcendental Astrology,
by Rob Couteau.
Sun = 002
Saturn = 021
Neptune = 040
Pluto = 050
Venus = 121
Uranus = 202
Mars = 310
Jupiter = 411
Mercury = 421
Moon = 431
[Least-aspected Sun] [Saturn]
Kennedy displayed genuine courage after the crash and a willingness to do all in his power to save his men. The bravery was real, however it was exaggerated in campaign literature and in authorized books.
–Thomas C. Reeves, A Question of Character, on J.F.K.’s behavior during the sinking of the PT-109.
He had a capacity for backing off and watching himself perform, and later commenting on what he’d seen and heard with a quick, half-sublimated sense of humor that often made him seen like a pillar of sanity in the thieving, swinish chaos of American politics. He seemed like the only man who knew what was happening, and although there was rarely any way to guess what he might decide to do about it, there was always the chance that he might find an opening to do something right.
–Hunter Thompson, Proud Highway, reflecting on Kennedy a few years after the assassination.
John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy, the thirty-fifth president of the United States (1960-1963), was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, in close proximity to the vertical, Midheaven position of his Secondary Saturn. Kennedy attended college at Harvard; he also studied abroad under the English socialist and political scientist, Harold J. Laski, a professor of the London School of Economics. Although Laski was decidedly to the left of the Kennedy “patriarch” (Secondary Saturn), Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy, Kennedy’s father encouraged his sons to expose their belief systems to such foreign perspectives. (This curiosity was not, however, mere open-mindedness. Many families of the economic elite sent their children to study under professors such as Laski, in order to gain an insider’s understanding of the so-called enemy: Marxism.) As we see on J.F.K.’s astrocartography, London is directly under the setting position of his Primary Sun line. (Kennedy’s natal Sun receives no major or minor planetary aspects and, with only two minor aspects to the Midheaven , its Transcendental influence is enormous.) Indeed, as we shall see, Kennedy’s Transcendental Sun is found above every major developmental location in his early life.
After briefly serving as secretary to his ambassador-father in London (1938), Kennedy completed his thesis on the failure of the British to respond appropriately to the threat of war with Nazi Germany. With the help of his father’s enormous wealth, influence, and power, his thesis was rewritten with a considerable amount of outside assistance, published as Why England Slept, and subsequently parlayed in a successful “publicity campaign” (Primary Sun) that “promoted” (Sun) the young J.F.K. and generated a “celebrity” (Sun) introduction to the public at large. In the words of historian Anthony Summers, “Kennedy … was a star act born and bred.”1 Again, we should keep in mind that the subject of Kennedy’s thesis–England–is located directly under his Primary Sun: the planet ruling “self-promotion and the ‘celebritizing’ of the self.”
Kennedy graduated from Harvard in 1940 and enlisted in the Navy in September 1941. After a brief stint at the Office of Naval Intelligence, he was transferred to the Pacific Theater and given command of the PT-109: one of the “fast patrol” boats designed for maneuverability and quickness. On the evening of August 1, 1943, Kennedy’s craft was one of fifteen that set off from Rendova Island to attack a convoy of four Japanese destroyers. Kennedy’s PT-boat remained some distance away from any direct combat with the enemy and, although accounts differ regarding what, exactly, occurred during his patrol, negligence seems to have played a primary role in inadvertently leading the tiny craft into the direct path of an immense Japanese destroyer. Kennedy and crew were caught completely off guard (some accounts have them partying below board) as their boat was sliced in half by the unwavering enemy ship, the Amaqiri.
According to biographer Thomas C. Reeves, although Kennedy was probably derelict in his duties when the Japanese destroyer wrecked the PT-109, it is generally acknowledged that he displayed “heroism” (Sun) in rescuing a fellow crew member.2 Clinging to floating debris, Kennedy endured a four-hour swim across Blackett Strait and safely landed on Plum Pudding Island (now known as Kennedy Island; part of the Solomon Islands). After being rescued by coastal watchers on Gomu Island, Kennedy became the butt of jokes within the Navy and the subject of serious talk of a court-martial.3 How the most maneuverable craft in naval history was unable to avoid the broad swath of a cumbersome destroyer was a difficult question to answer. Indeed, it was the first time–and remained the only time–that a PT boat was sunk in combat.
Only the considerable wealth and political power of “patriarch” (Secondary Saturn) Joseph Kennedy enabled the Kennedys to turn the PT-109 fiasco into a “brilliant public relations success” (Primary Sun). As a result of the elder Kennedy’s own deft maneuvering, J.F.K. was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for “gallantry” (Sun), and an altered version of the PT-109 incident was described in vivid detail for thousands of subscribers to Reader’s Digest magazine. The saga of wartime “valor and bravery” (Sun) would become an essential element in the Kennedy legend that would propel him into the Senate and, later on, into the White House. Yet, John F. Kennedy remained quite sober regarding his own assessment of the incident. When privately quizzed about it while he was president, he somberly replied that the PT adventure was “more fucked up” than the disastrous Bay of Pigs fiasco.4
This curious turn of events unfolded directly under Kennedy’s most aspected or Leading Moon, which forms a vertical, midnight position over the Solomon Islands, where the PT-109 was sunk.5 The Leading Moon line is in proximity to Kennedy’s Primary Sun line, which rises in a curving pattern southwest of the island chain. Thus, a Zone of Intensity was created over this region: a place where most- and least aspected lines run in proximity, thereby creating intensely challenging, difficult situations. (See my essay, “Zone of Intensity,” below.)
The symbolism of the most- and least aspected planets involved in this drama fittingly portrays the keynote events that unfolded there. While on the one hand he exhibited an “emotionally regressive and childish behavior” (Leading Moon) by partying below board with his fellow crewmembers, on the other hand he reacted to the crisis with a “heroic, valorous response” (Primary Sun). This pattern of “childish emotional gratification” (Leading Moon) pursued at the risk of scandal and self-destruction, yet counterpointed by “dramatic leadership, charisma, and heroism” (Primary Sun) is a succinct description of the major theme of Kennedy’s biography. J.F.K.’s Leading Moon also reflects the classic pattern of an “emotionally distant, cold, detached mother figure” (Leading Moon), which Kennedy complained about throughout his life. The pursuit of such “primitive yet intense expressions of feeling” as a way of integrating the denied emotions of the mother is a typical reaction to such “improper maternal imprinting” (Leading Moon). So, too, is the tendency toward “emotional reserve and the inability to express appropriate interpersonal feeling” that J.F.K. was known for.
Considering the Sun’s traditional symbolism of “placing events on center stage, and under the spotlight of public scrutiny” (not to mention the “accolades” and “publicity” that Kennedy received as a result of his “valiant response” to this “dramatic event”), we see how this experience neatly fits into the traditional themes of the Sun symbolism. In addition, this close brush with mortality must have exerted a decisive psychological influence upon J.F.K. It is in this context, then, of a significant, transformative experience, that we have coined the term “Transcendental experience.”
After the war, Kennedy returned to the East Coast vicinity of his Secondary Saturn, where he was elected as a Congressman and, later, as a Senator from Massachusetts, thereby beginning his lifelong career as a “leading figure / in governmental institutions” (Sun / Saturn). After winning seven presidential primaries in 1960, he was nominated on the first ballot at the Democratic Convention, in Los Angeles. Two days later, he spoke before an ecstatic crowd at the Los Angeles Coliseum, declaring, in “heroic” (Sun) tones, “We stand today on the edge of a New Frontier–the frontier of the 1960s–a frontier of unknown opportunities and perils.... I am asking each of you to be new pioneers on that New Frontier.” Kennedy’s Primary Sun runs directly above Point Arguello, California (34N35; 120W39; a pointed land-mass jutting into the Pacific, north of Los Angeles) in a vertical, Midheaven position. Again, Kennedy’s Primary Sun played prominent role in a significant number of events that occurred during his brief but fascinating life.6
A quick look at J.F.K.’s Secondary Saturn–located near the coast of Southeast Asia in a vertical, midnight position–calls to mind the question of his political plans concerning Vietnam. Because of agreements reached with the Soviet Premier, Nikita Khrushchev, Kennedy agreed to a “hands-off” policy in Laos, which, until that time, was considered a potential target of subversion by the CIA. According to one source in his administration, after reaching this agreement, Kennedy felt obliged to placate his military leaders by pursuing some other form of involvement in the region.
Did Kennedy’s unwillingness to abide greater military escalation in Vietnam or his growing estrangement with the overall military-industrial complex play a part in his assassination, as several theorists have conjectured? What is certain is that, within days of his death, presidential executive orders were signed by President Johnson rescinding Kennedy’s plan for a troop withdrawal, which had been slated to commence that Christmas. After his election in 1964, Johnson escalated the conflict into the full-scale war that fiercely divided the country throughout much of the 1960s.
Finally, we should consider the formative influence that Kennedy’s Sun and Saturn symbols played throughout his life. He was a “dynamic celebrity” (Sun) who, nonetheless, felt “constrained” by his “authoritarian father” (Saturn). His “intense concern with his public image” (Sun) and with “constructing / the persona of a dignified, honorable public leader” (Saturn / Sun) is a principal theme of Thomas C. Reeves’s critical biography, A Question of Character. Besides symbolizing “self-promotion,” the “celebrity spotlight,” and the “creation of a dramatic public image”7 (e.g., Joseph P. Kennedy’s famous remark about spending so much money publicizing and promoting J.F.K.’s run for Congress that he could have just as easily elected his chauffeur), the Sun also rules a kind of “fame that transcends ordinary human bounds.”
Yet behind his radiant Sun persona, Kennedy secretly suffered from chronic “physical pain” (Secondary Saturn). He endured his pain discreetly, carefully hiding his “afflictions” (Secondary Saturn) from public scrutiny and promoting, instead, “an image of robust physical health and well-being” (Primary Sun). His diagnosis of Addison’s disease (at that time, considered to be fatal) has only recently been revealed to the public. Secondary Saturn–hiding behind the “radiant grandeur” of Kennedy’s Primary Sun–is the ruler of “afflictions of long duration.” Kennedy’s Sun / Saturn symbols reflect the “noble / endurance of physical suffering” that characterized his brief life.
1. Anthony Summers, The Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon, p. 200.
2. Thomas C. Reeves, A Question of Character, p. 68.
3. “At the time, the PT-109 affair was something of a scandal.” Reeves, p. 66.
4. “In the White House, shortly after the Bay of Pigs disaster, Donovan tried to get Jack to talk about the night the PT-109 was hit. The president paused a few seconds, shook his head, and said, ‘That whole story was more fucked up than Cuba.’” Ibid., p. 68, citing Herbert S. Parmet’s Jack: The Struggles of John F. Kennedy, pp. 111-112.
5. See the area slightly east of Papua, New Guinea.
6. “The selection of Los Angeles as the site for the 1960 Democratic National Convention was propitious for J.F.K. It put Kennedy’s show business supporters in close proximity to the action. On July 10, the eve of the convention’s opening, the Democratic Party gave a one-hundred-dollar-a-plate fund-raiser at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Sinatra rounded up a host of celebrities, including Milton Berle, Janet Leigh, Tony Curtis, Judy Garland, Mort Sahl, and the entire ‘Jack Pack’ to mingle with the crowd of twenty-eight hundred supporters.” Donald H. Wolfe, The Last Days of Marilyn Monroe, 1998, p. 346.
7. “Personal relations” with the public, however, is symbolized by the Moon.
Revised & updated: 1 January 2012
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'The Role of the Least-aspected Planet in Astrocartography.'
All text © Copyright 2012 Rob Couteau and cannot be used without the written and expressed consent of the author. Key words: astrocartographer biography of William Blake Moon planets symbolism chart of William Blake horoscope astrology astrocartography