The Role of the Least Aspected Planet in Astrocartography.
Planetary Symbolism in Astrocartography and Transcendental Astrology,
by Rob Couteau.
Venus = 111
Mars = 131
Moon = 210
Pluto = 221
Mercury = 222
Neptune = 231
Saturn = 311
Sun = 331
Uranus = 412
[Least-aspected Venus] [Mars]
He had the same capacity [as his father] for likes and dislikes, for love and hate.
–Arthur Krock, reflecting on his friend Bobby Kennedy.
If nature gave Bobby his father’s pale blue eyes, nurture bred in him Joe Kennedy’s tenaciousness in the pursuit of self-defined goals and the willingness to use raw power when necessary without thinking twice about the effects.... If Joe could, and often did, drive business competitors into bankruptcy without pity or regret, Bobby could, and often did, destroy egos and bruise people’s lives in his first thirty-five years.
–Lester David and Irene David, Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Folk Hero.
He was misunderstood to the end ... When his essentially gentle nature revealed itself during the televised debate with Eugene McCarthy, a New York Times editorial suggested that he lost the debate because he “was less at ease because he seemed to be reining in his native aggressiveness and trying deliberately to be low-keyed.”
–Jack Newfield, Robert Kennedy: A Memoir.
Robert F. Kennedy was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, almost precisely under the setting position of his Secondary Mars and just east of his Primary Venus, which runs in a vertical, Midheaven position over the East Coast. Venus combines with Secondary Mars in a narrow, Transcendental Midpoint-Field over his birthplace; Primary Venus is also positioned close to the nation’s capital in Washington, D.C.
Most of R.F.K.’s private and professional life was centered in the midpoint-field formed by this Transcendental pairing. Kennedy was a graduate of Harvard (1948) and the University of Virginia Law School (1951), managed J.F.K.’s Senate campaign in 1952, and served as legal counsel to the Senate subcommittee investigating Un-American Activities, which was chaired by the infamous red-baiting senator, Joseph R. McCarthy (1953-1956). As chief counsel to the Senate’s Select Committee on Improper Activities (1957-1959), Robert Kennedy doggedly pursued the prosecution of corrupt labor leaders. His book, The Enemy Within (1960), details his investigations into the influence of organized crime on the nation’s business and labor centers. After managing J.F.K.’s presidential campaign in 1960, Robert Kennedy accepted his brother’s controversial offer to serve as attorney general.
During R.F.K.’s brief tenure as attorney general, “prosecutions” (Secondary Mars) of organized crime figures rose to levels never before attained. He expanded the Justice Department’s Crime and Rackets Section from seventeen to sixty people, created investigative bureaus in six cities to collect data on over 1,100 racketeers, and authorized seven anticrime laws that were approved by Congress. A month before his brother’s assassination, in October 1963 Kennedy persuaded mobster Joseph Valachi to testify under government protection. Valachi’s testimony revealed the secret workings of the so-called Cosa Nostra crime syndicate1 and described how Mafia operations depended on payoffs to local police, politicians, and city council members.
Besides alerting the public to the presence of organized crime, R.F.K. made his most significant historical contribution during the Cuban Missile Crisis. At one point in the inner-office debate, he was the only one who voiced “opposition to military intervention” (Primary Venus) in Cuba. Because of his influential position as the president’s brother, his argument to maintain a position of “reasonable compromise” (Venus) with the Soviets and their Cuban ally eventually prevailed. His determination to succeed against the right-wing faction of “hawks” in the Kennedy administration may have saved the world from a dangerous global conflict between two nuclear superpowers. Indeed, with Mars and Venus as Transcendentals, R.F.K.’s planets fittingly symbolized his role: he was a master of “hanging tough” and yet of “offering reasonable compromise.”
The quintessential Mars / Venus keynote of “avenging / values” is a pithy description of another aspect of R.F.K.’s character: as attorney general, his notion of justice was so “interpersonally / combative” (Venus / Mars) that his prosecution of leading mobsters was frequently described as a “personal vendetta” (Mars). (This offers a good example with which to illustrate the difference between the Mars-Venus impulse to “aggressively / balance the scales” and the more social-collective or abstract notion of Jupiterian justice, which was upheld, for example, by President Lincoln–who was born with a Primary Jupiter–during the Civil War.)
While Venus is often portrayed in astrological literature as a passive lover of beauty, a reposeful epicurean, or a lazy sensual lover, there is another side to Venus that, until recently, has largely been ignored. That is: Venus as the driving force that will stop at nothing to achieve a proper human balance: an aesthetic balance, an interpersonal harmony, or a properly measured idea or notion. (The tendency of Libra, the zodiac sign ruled by Venus, to assert its opinion as a counterpoint to “inharmonious,” opposing points of view is a classic example of this. Hence, Venus-ruled Libra is symbolized by the “balancing” scales.)
Astrologer Kenneth Irving pursued a similar notion when he explored the values of an “angry Venus,” which he describes as a “freethinking rabble-rouser who was anything but peaceful.”2 Irving goes on to describe this “angry Venus” as a “type who seems compelled to defend the little man against the big man, the individual against the corporation, the child against the streetwise molester.” This is a particularly apt description of Robert Kennedy in his role as a “public defender” against the power of organized crime. Later in his life, after his brother’s death, he began to commit himself to the poor and disenfranchised, even when their support would not have helped him much politically.
The Venus complex, especially when combined with Mars, is a force that “demands / evaluation” (Mars / Venus): in particular, an “interactive, / interpersonal evaluation” (Mars / Venus). The Transcendental Astrology of Friedrich Nietzsche, whose Secondary Transcendental was Venus, offers points for comparison. Nietzsche’s carefully weighed aphorisms provoked a much-needed “revaluation” extending through philosophical, moral, and ethical realms (with Nietzsche, Secondary Venus combined with a “philosophical” Primary Jupiter). His work resulted in realigning the “psychic balance” of the social collective for decades to come. (See my Nietzsche study, below.)
Another classic quality of the Venus / Mars pairing is the urgent (at times, jarring) desire to unify male (Mars) and female (Venus) principles within the field of consciousness. As an American male coming-of-age in the 1940s, the presence of such seemingly contradictory energies working in the forefront of consciousness must have been a particularly challenging experience for R.F.K. Indeed, a principal theme in his biography was the constant need to display “masculine strength” and to mask a more “feminine, receptive” (Venus) side: the latter represents an aspect of personality he was often loath to display in public. Yet, Kennedy’s “feminine charm” and “sensitivity” (Venus) were qualities that were difficult to conceal. R.F.K. biographers often remark on the overcompensating nature of his Martian “bravado,” as if the younger Kennedy felt he had something to “prove” (Mars) or some feminine “weakness to overcome” (Mars). His more sensitive nature was also noted by enemies such as Jimmy Hoffa and Lyndon Johnson, who were quick to taunt and ridicule him over such matters.
Perhaps as a result of such things, he “strived even harder” to “prove his manliness” by “accomplishing difficult athletic feats or by participating in events requiring “arduous physical endurance” (Mars). Such behavior was encouraged throughout his childhood by his father, Joseph P. Kennedy. Of all the Kennedy siblings, Robert seems to have taken the family tradition of “athletic competition” (Mars) closest to heart. His “macho posturing” (Mars) was a well-known–and often criticized–aspect of the “prosecutorial” Kennedy’s “spunky” (Mars) personality. His “aggressive, confrontational style and adversarial role” (Mars) in J.F.K.’s administration were also typical expressions of the Mars complex.
The “split” between a “soft, charming, feminine” expression (Venus) and a “pushy macho” behavior (Mars) was characterized by critics as “the good Bobby” and “the bad Bobby”: the former notable for a wide-eyed, almost naïve “charm, diplomacy, and charismatic allure”; the latter for a narrow, “steely-eyed, angry stare” and a “heated monomaniacal need to avenge at any cost.” Again, his Venusian sensitivity (a “refined ability to value and balance”) often seemed to unite with Mars to produce “an avenging / evaluation.” In short, Kennedy tried to “right every wrong” (Mars) and to achieve a “just balance” (Venus), yet he did so in the most “hot-headed, pushy, and intemperate manner” (Mars). What a strange commingling of such classic “masculine” and “feminine” symbols! This seemingly contradictory pairing often resulted in an “aggressive pursuit” (Mars) of Venus’s “values”: the “hunt” (Mars) for the “symmetrical” (Venus); the “feeling-toned evaluation” of the “good” and the “bad” (Venus)–and the “meting out” and “enforcement” (Mars) of “a proper perspective” (Venus).
Such dual interpersonal tendencies were often commented on during R.F.K.’s 1968 campaign for the presidency. Years later, one journalist would recall: “R.F.K. sometimes had trouble striking the right note between his confrontational [Mars] and conciliatory [Venus] impulses.”3
In his astrocartography, we see an additional factor coming into play: his second most aspected or Secondary Leader, Sun, runs in a vertical, Midheaven position slightly west of the California coast. As noted in several other studies, Leading or most aspected planets indicate geographical (and psychological) areas where we may overreact or overdo things. In his quest for “maximum publicity” (Secondary Leader Sun), and attempting to counter sagging support at the end of his ill-fated ’68 run, he attempted to travel 1,200 miles in just thirteen hours during the final day of campaigning, visiting major television stations all along the way. After eighty-four days of arduous campaigning, traveling on just four hours of sleep each night, and relying on mega-doses of vitamin B-12 injections, in Long Beach his health began to flag, and he gave a rambling speech that almost ended in sickness. In San Diego, Kennedy suffered a near collapse before a crowd of 2,500 people. Seated on the edge of the stage, holding his head in his hands, he excused himself, threw up in the bathroom, and then returned to finish his speech. The next morning, in Malibu, he fell into such a deep sleep that Richard Goodwin, his speechwriter, mistook him for dead. (Kennedy had just rescued his twelve-year old son from drowning in a Pacific undertow and was recuperating from the extreme effort.)
On the evening of June 6, 1968, Kennedy joined friends and supporters in the Ambassador hotel to await the election results. After a victory speech, swept away by the crowd and partially separated from his bodyguards, R.F.K. was gunned down in the hotel kitchen, supposedly by Sirhan Sirhan, although the possibility of a conspiracy continues to be debated.
If we examine R.F.K.’s astrocartography, we can see that, contrary to certain traditional astrocartography theories, which place great emphasis on so-called benefic and malefic planets, it was, instead, R.F.K.’s least aspected or Transcendental lines that most defined his essential character and mission in life, while one of his most aspected planetary lines–Secondary Leader, Sun–marked a locale of catastrophe in his saga. (Some astrocartographers mistakenly consider the lines of Venus, Jupiter, and/or the Sun to be indicative of the best places for everyone to relocate). Again, R.F.K.’s Transcendental Midpoint-Field involved a traditional malefic (Mars),4 while Kennedy’s overaspected Sun symbolized a propensity to overreach, as well as a geographic location where a Transcendental Astrologer would tend to advise caution.
1. I say “so-called” because, despite the horrors that were brought to bear within the United States as a result of the Sicilian mob, organized crime is an international phenomenon: one largely accommodated by international governments and status quo power structures. Therefore, it is a more dangerous beast than one represented by a singular ethnic mob, such as the Italian mafia. For an informed discussion on this, see Peter Dale Scott’s Deep Politics and the Death of JFK. Regarding R.F.K.’s war on organized crime, Scott notes, “a cynical view of the Kennedy’s attack on organized crime is to see it as a struggle for dominance of the Democratic party , a campaign to weaken big mob-based city machines such as Chicago’s (which had backed Adlai Stevenson) and New Orleans’s (which had backed Lyndon Johnson).” Ibid., p. 190.
2. Kenneth Irving, “The New Astrology,” American Astrology, March 1994, pp. 44-47. “As we noted in our Venus essay, this planet all by itself is often prominent in the charts of people who see themselves as defending the interests of downtrodden individuals against large and impersonal forces. When this trait shows up, it is quite noticeable and is at times even radical.” Irving, “The New Astrology, Part 11,” American Astrology magazine, January 1993, p. 51.
3. Evan Thomas, “R.F.K.’s Last Campaign,” Time magazine, June 8, 1998, pp. 32-34, 47-51.
4. “The natural benefics are Venus, Jupiter, the Sun by trine or sextile aspects, and any planet that is well aspected and dignified [...] Generally speaking, malefics are not so much ‘bad’ as it is that they require more thought, more consciousness, and more skill at managing life than the benefics require in most cases. In fact, the two main malefics, Mars and Saturn, are necessary for building character and strength. But either of these handled without consciousness leads to less than fortunate results. The natural malefics are Mars, Saturn and the Sun by conjunction only [...] Ultimately, whether a planet is a malefic or a benefic depends upon a number of factors. Planets that are naturally one or the other can be converted into their opposite by other circumstances in the chart. One cannot assume that Venus and Jupiter will always produce good results, and that Saturn and Mars will always produce bad results. This is an old classification and must be taken somewhat freely. In the end, I like Ptolemy’s definition of the terms best. According to Ptolemy, a benefic is a planet whose natural influence leads to moderation and balance. A malefic is a planet whose natural influence leads to extremes and imbalance.” A well-reasoned summary, indeed. See Robert Hand, “The Lot or Part of Fortune, Part 2,” posted online.
Revised & updated:
5 August 2005
Role of the Least-aspected Planet in Astrocartography
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II. Transcendental Biographies
| III. Transcendental Events
IV. Psychic inflation - Summary of Planetary Symbolism - Transcendental Planets
V. Nodes / the Triple-zero Transcendental | Appendices: Orbs / References / Data
Additional Maps | Bibliography | FAQ
I. Interview in Astrolore | II. Transcendental Nations | III. American Presidents & LAP Saturn
IV. World Events | V. Numinous Consciousness
VI. The LAP as a metaphor of the soul | VII.
Zones of Intensity |
VIII. Complete Index of Names and Events
All text © Copyright 2003 Robert Couteau and cannot be used without the written and expressed consent of the author.