What’s up with all these recent sexual mea culpas from conservative big-wigs? With both Nevada Senator John Ensign, formerly fourth in the GOP Senate leadership, and South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford calling press conferences to reveal some dirty little secrets last June, secrets that all but destroy their political careers, the potential GOP presidential field for 2012 is narrowing. What in heaven’s name is going on?
The heavens, indeed, may hold the answer. For a political astrologer, a glance at the sky last summer shows some intriguing patterns, predominantly a pairing of planet Saturn and asteroid Pecker (#1629) in mid-Virgo. Now, Pecker may technically be named for Jean-Claude Pecker, former director of the Nice observatory in southern France, but that doesn’t prevent its more colloquial side from expressing itself. As a common euphemism for penis, Pecker shows prominently in such incidents as Lorena Bobbitt’s de-peckering of hubby John, and innumerable political sexual fiascos, including NJ Governor Jim McGreevey’s coming out, NY Governor Eliot Spitzer’s unmasking, Idaho Senator Larry Craig’s wide stance, and that Clinton thing.
Astrologically, Saturn governs many areas of life, including governments and authority figures such as senators and governors, and specifically relates to the office of Chief Executive. But it also has affinities with more general attributes such as restriction or limitation, being held back or restrained, and further denotes extreme conservatism or repression.
So having the planet associated with governmental authority figures traveling with an asteroid representing the male sexual organ is just asking for trouble. And Ensign and Sanford got it, in spades! Both men resigned, not their elective offices, but their party leadership positions, enacting Saturn’s propensity to limit, restrict and downsize; Ensign from the Senate Republican Policy Committee which he chaired, and Sanford from the chairmanship of the Republican Governor’s Association. Sanford had been seriously considered as a running mate for McCain in 2008, and both were on the radar as potential presidential candidates in 2012, goals which have now irrevocably slipped from their grasp. Saturn is traditionally noted for denying or withholding advancement until we have proven ourselves worthy; basically, it’s telling both men that this is as far as they go, and the limiting factor is their inability to keep it zipped!
If we look deeper at both men’s birth charts, the picture comes into greater focus. At 6 degrees of Gemini in John Ensign’s nativity (born 25 March 1958), asteroid Pecker is exactly conjoined a Maser, a deep space anomaly which explosively spews vast jets of matter from its core, light years into space. I’m going to avoid the pitfall of conflating “spew” and “pecker,” and just pop right off to the Maser’s astrological usage, which is that it over-excites, evokes volatile situations and attracts controversy, leaving debilitation and exhaustion in its wake.
Further, Ensign’s Pecker is exactly sextile to his natal Chaos (#19521) at 6 Aries, a Trans-Neptunian Object from the outer reaches of our system near Pluto; a planetoid which, no shock, tends toward degeneration, disorder and entropy. Pecker is also exactly trine to Ensign’s natal Mars at 6 Aquarius, ruler of sexual appetites and activity. [Incidentally, Ensign also sports a telling combination of asteroids Eros (#433, denoting romantic passion), Nemesis (#128, denoting just retribution and comeuppance) and Damocles (#5335, denoting impending doom) clustered between his Mars and natal Venus (arbiter of love and intimacy) at 19 Aquarius, but that’s another story.] The Pecker/Saturn conjunction of 10 and 15 Virgo from June 16, 2009, when Ensign made his announcement, squared his natal asteroid Lust (#4386) at 14 Sagittarius; ‘nuff said!
Mark Sanford’s chart is even more revealing (born 28 May 1960). Pecker at 8 Aries is exactly squared to a Quasar at 8 Cancer, another type of deep space anomaly, this one among the brightest objects in the universe. Astrologically, Quasars highlight whatever they contact, illumining it for all to see, like a beacon on a hilltop. This is obviously a really bad placement for anyone attempting to be discreet about sexual peccadilloes, and with Pecker also in sextile aspect to Sanford’s natal Sun at 7 Gemini, he never had much hope of maintaining his private’s privacy. Pecker is also conjoined with Chaos at 9 Aries, reflective of Ensign’s similar contact, and is further conjunct asteroid Lust at 1 Aries and planet Mars at 13 Aries, itself conjunct asteroid Eros at 14 Aries. That’s quite a bundle of sexual energies.
But it gets better. Sanford’s affair was with an Argentine woman named Maria, and asteroids Argentina (#469) and Maria (#170) both feature prominently in his birth chart and in the sky on June 24, 2009, when he made public his infidelity. In his birth chart, asteroid Argentina at 28 Pisces is exactly conjunct a Black Hole, indicating a potential for sudden, dramatic or unexpected reversals of the status quo in connection with that country or its citizens, and within orb of both Lust and Pecker.
Maria stands at 16 Capricorn, where she is inextricably linked with Sanford’s natal Saturn at 17 Capricorn, emblematic of his career and of the governor’s office which he holds. When he announced their affair, asteroid Maria in the sky had just returned to its natal position, and at 18 Capricorn was still conjoined both natal Maria and Saturn; asteroid Argentina at 20 Sagittarius was conjoined Sanford’s natal asteroid Aphrodite (#1388) at 18 Sagittarius, representing flirtations and affairs of the heart, and exactly sextile asteroid Damocles at 20 Aquarius in the sky, denoting the doom that had finally caught up with him. Transit Uranus, the planet ruling shocks, upsets and revelations, at 26 Pisces was just creeping up on his natal Argentina at the time. The Pecker/Saturn conjunction still forming in the sky was now at 13/16 Virgo, squared natal Aphrodite and trine natal Maria/Saturn, with Pecker exactly inconjunct Sanford’s natal Mars at 13 Aries.
Both Ensign and Sanford were very vocal in their condemnations of Bill Clinton’s similarly Pecker-inspired difficulties in the late ‘90’s. Now asteroid Pecker has plucked a pair of priggish pols from positions of power, and if that kind of karmic comeuppance isn’t worthy of a nursery rhyme, I don’t know what is!
But Pecker’s political legacy is vast and far-reaching, encompassing officials from both sides of the aisle. Perhaps the granddaddy of Washington sex scandals was the sad case of Wilbur Mills, an alcoholic Democratic Representative from Arkansas, once the longest-sitting chair of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, in his day known as “the most powerful man in Washington,” who mounted a brief campaign for President in 1972. On the night of 7 October 1974 Mills was stopped by capitol police for driving without his car lights on. Drunk, his face scratched from an earlier altercation with his companion, Argentine-born stripper Fanne Fox, the congressman was disoriented and incoherent. Fox, known professionally as “the Argentine Firecracker,” attempted to flee the scene by jumping into the nearby Tidal Basin, a dodge which brought the incident to the attention of everyday Americans when late night talk show hosts like Johnny Carson began cracking jokes about it.
Mills was handily re-elected a month later, but compounded the original offense by continuing the affair with Fox (re-christened “the Tidal Basin Bombshell”), accompanying her onstage while performing in burlesque houses, and holding a press conference form her dressing room. The resulting scandal forced Mills, who had been instrumental in funding Medicare during his tenure, to resign his chairmanship, though he completed his congressional term through January 1977.
Born 24 May 1909, Mills’ Pecker at 15 Sagittarius retrograde forms the Apex of an exact Yod, or Finger of Destiny, with asteroid Fanny (#821) at 15 Taurus and Neptune at 15 Cancer, with damocloid asteroid Damocles close by Fanny at 16 Taurus, exactly conjunct an energy-sucking, reality-warping Black Hole. This fated or predestined pattern says much about Mills’ fall from greatness, spurred by his alcoholism (Neptune) and passion for Fanne Fox (Fanny). Asteroid Eros, ruler of romantic passion, is exactly conjunct natal Saturn at 19 Aries, both exactly squared another Black Hole at 19 Capricorn and natal Uranus at 20 Capricorn retrograde, fatally combining erotic instincts with career, Uranus providing the elements of shock and disruption. Venus at 9 Gemini squares asteroid Argentina, Fox’s birthplace, at 12 Pisces, indicating Mills’ natural attraction for persons from that quarter. Asteroid Fox (#16248) at 28 Aries is sextile natal Mars/Chiron at 28 and 29 Aquarius, conjoined the Black Hole at 27 Aquarius, suggesting a wounding (Chiron) from sexual activity (Mars) involving Fox.
When his arrest made the affair public on 7 October 1974, asteroids Pecker and Fanny were conjoined at 1 and 2 Cancer, squared Mills’ natal asteroid Washingtonia (the venue for the incident and the seat of his power), exactly on the supermassive Black Hole at 1 Libra. This Black Hole was itself conjoined by asteroids Nemesis, representing karmic undoing, at 3 Libra, and Argentina, representing Fox’s birthplace, at 2 Libra. Pecker/Fanny are also squared to an exact conjunction of transit Venus (love affairs) and Pluto (secrets, scandals) at 6 Libra. Transit Saturn (career) at 18 Cancer was squared its natal degree and natal asteroid Eros at 19 Aries, forming a T-Square with natal Uranus at 20 Capricorn, which becomes a Grand Cross with the addition of transit Sun and Mars at 13 and 16 Libra.
Transit Damocles, harbinger of doom, at 19 Aquarius is exactly sextile Mills’ natal Saturn/Eros, inconjunct transit Saturn at 18 Cancer. Asteroid Fox at 25 Gemini is squared asteroid Wilber (#15109) at 26 Virgo, with Fox conjoined Mills’ natal pairing of Mercury (the Press) and Pluto (scandals, sexual taboos) at 24 Gemini. All these points are keyed on the Galactic Center at 26 Sagittarius, which conveys universal notice and attention, which the Tidal Basin incident surely received.
Transit Uranus at 27 Libra opposes Mills’ natal asteroid Fox at 28 Aries and trines natal Mars/Chiron at 28/29 Aquarius, establishing the revelation (Uranus) of the affair (Fox) and indicating the sexually-based (Mars) wounding (Chiron). The couple were heavily intoxicated, and asteroid Bacchus (#2063), named for the Roman god of wine, revelry and song, at 28 Leo is exactly trine natal Fox, with the transit Venus/Pluto pairing exactly trine Mills’ natal asteroid Bacchus at 6 Aquarius retrograde.
Of course Bill Clinton’s (born 18 August 1946) Pecker was very much in evidence throughout his career, but never moreso than during his White House tenure. With natal Pecker at 15 Capricorn, the reason why this should be so is apparent—it tightly squares the US Saturn, representing the Chief Executive, at 14 Libra, and from there conjoins Clinton’s natal Chiron at 18 Libra, providing a wounding, not only of Clinton personally, but of the office he held, which dropped considerably in esteem during the Lewinsky affair.
Pecker is conjoined by asteroids Icarus (#1566) and Askalaphus (#4946) at 9 and 21 Capricorn respectively, combining reckless, impulsive action, heedless of the consequences (Icarus), with third-party tale-bearing, such as evinced by Linda Tripp’s role in the disclosure of the affair with Monica Lewinsky (asteroid Askalaphus is named for the denizen of the Underworld who ratted out Persephone’s ingestion of six pomegranate seeds, which required her to spend half the year with her rapist husband Hades).
When Clinton initiated his affair with Lewinsky on 15 November 1995, transit Pecker at 5 Libra was exactly conjunct Clinton’s Ascendant and the illuminating Quasar there, making long-term secrecy impossible. From this point, Pecker also stimulated Clinton’s natal asteroid Lust (#4386) at 2 Libra, conjunct the largest supermassive Black Hole of which we are aware, at 1 Libra, giving Lust a disproportionately strong pull on Clinton’s psyche, and making it one of the things most notable about him (via its conjunction with his Ascendant, how others view us). Clinton’s natal Mars/Neptune conjunction lies close beside at 6 Libra, further tying in themes of sexual (Mars) deception (Neptune), causing pervasive (Quasar) disillusion and erosion (both also Neptune) of Clinton’s public image (his Ascendant).
When the news of the affair broke on 17 January 1998, transit Pecker at 4 Taurus was again conjunct a spotlighting Quasar, tightly inconjunct Pecker for the affair’s inception, and further squared both Clinton’s natal Saturn at 2 Leo and his Mercury at 7 Leo, providing news and details (both Mercury) about his zipper issues (Pecker) which adversely affected (square) his career (Saturn). [For a fuller expose of l’Affaire Lewinsky, please see my article, “Monica & Hillary” in the October 2009 Daykeeper Journal.]
While GOP perverts are commonly more entertaining, combining as they do themes of hypocrisy with sexual antics, the Dems are no slouch in the deviancy department either. When New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey called a press conference 12 August 2004 to announce that he’d had an illicit affair with a man and was resigning as governor, stunned doesn’t begin to cover it. Twice married and with two daughters, McGreevey had solicited sex and proffered favors and career advancement to Golan Cipel, his former homeland security advisor, whom the governor alleged was now attempting to extort him regarding the affair. Born 6 August 1957, McGreevey’s 29 Taurus Pecker conjoins a volatile, controversy-provoking Maser at 27 Taurus, and squares his rather unfortunate Mars/Pluto conjunction at 28/29 Leo. Mars/Pluto in and of itself indicates a high probability of sexual variance or distortion as well as obsession or compulsion, an attraction for forbidden or taboo sexual expression, as well as the likelihood of secretive or covert sexual activity. Pecker is also trine to natal Jupiter at 29 Virgo, inflating the situation and bringing in the political element.
When McGreevey made his announcement on 12 August 2004, transit Sappho at 27 Taurus, named for a famous lesbian poet of ancient Greece, was conjunct his natal Pecker and the Maser, indicating the homosexual nature of the indiscretion and its concomitant shock value. Transit Pecker at 10 Gemini was exactly opposed a Black Hole at 10 Sagittarius, evoking the bizarre parallel reality quality to the occasion, while forming a Grand Cross with transit Uranus (the shocking revelation) at 5 Pisces, conjunct an attention-grabbing Quasar at 6 Pisces and asteroid Lust at 9 Pisces; and transit Mercury (the press conference itself) at 8 Virgo, neatly sandwiched between a pair of Black Holes at 7 and 9 Virgo while approaching McGreevey’s natal Mercury/Venus conjunction at 10 and 13 Virgo.
A similar resignation shocker occurred 29 September 2006 when Florida Representative Mark Foley vacated his House seat in the wake of disclosures by ABC News of ill-considered, sexually explicit IMs and emails he had sent to underage male congressional pages. A GOP party leader, deputy Majority Whip and head of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, author and sponsor of several bills designed to crack down on Internet child predators, Foley’s offense was particularly egregious in that he had set himself up to be prosecuted under many of the same laws he himself helped to write.
Foley’s sexuality was a not-so-open secret. The 52-year-old, unmarried congressman had been in the House since 1994, and there had been some speculation in the gay press that he was either gay or bisexual as early as 1996. Although the House leadership denied any knowledge of Foley’s predilections, further investigation revealed that his inappropriate behavior with minors extended over a decade, to virtually his first days in Congress, and that the leadership was well aware of it. Male pages were routinely warned to give him a wide berth, and the most recent round of allegations had been reported to the House leadership in the autumn of 2005, at which time Foley was quietly admonished by the House Clerk and several GOP congressmen.
Born 8 September 1954, Foley’s natal Pecker at 3 Cancer lies in a strong configuration, conjunct a Black Hole at 4 Cancer, opposed natal Mars at 5 Capricorn on a second Black Hole, and squared natal Mercury at 0 Libra conjoined a third Black Hole at 1 Libra. All that Black Hole energy makes for an obsessive, inescapable sexuality (Mars/Pecker), hidden and covert, but irresistibly compelling, focused on young persons or minors (Mercury), and especially active and out-of-control where communication (also Mercury) is involved. As such, it’s no surprise that Foley should be caught out due to indiscretions recorded by communication devices such as email and instant messaging, for this area is an Achilles heel for him. The irony is that he was unable to repress these urges despite being all too well aware of the probable consequences of his attempted Internet seductions.
When Foley’s actions were exposed on 29 September 2006, the transit Sun at 6 Libra was just past conjunction with the spotlighting Quasar at 5 Libra, strongly bringing out the Mars/Pecker opposition by T-Square and placing it front and center for all to see. Transit Mars at 13 Libra was exactly conjunct a Black Hole, eliciting the stunning reversal and downfall via sexual actions, and was also squared Foley’s natal Nodal Axis at 12 Capricorn/Cancer, an image of karmic comeuppance, past actions affecting future potentials. Transit Pecker at 14 Sagittarius is conjoined natal Eros, arbiter of sexual passion, at 11 Sagittarius and tightly squared Foley’s natal Sun at 15 Virgo, bringing the issue home to him personally and exposing character flaws central to his being.
The curious episode involving Larry Craig, GOP Senator from Idaho, is another case in point. In the summer of 2007 Craig’s facade of heterosexual normalcy came crashing down when on June 11 he was arrested in a men’s room at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, for soliciting sex from an undercover police officer. The story didn’t break until August 27, but when it did, it was accompanied by some of the most bizarre press conferences and backpedaling we’ve seen from Washington politicians in recent years, beginning with a statement from Craig where he, apparently with no sense of irony, thanked all the reporters “for coming out today.”
During a layover, a travel term perhaps taken too literally by Craig, the Senator approached an officer in an airport bathroom notorious for gay hook-ups, to signal surreptitiously for sex. Craig first repeatedly peered through a crack in the officer’s stall door, then entered the adjoining stall. The Senator tapped his foot several times in a known gesture of sexual solicitation, then edged his right foot beneath the partition to nudge the officer’s left foot, afterward passing his left hand, palm side up, several times below the partition on the officer’s side. Craig weakly attempted to explain away these actions by stating that he has a “wide stance” while using the toilet, and was reaching for a scrap of paper that had fallen to the floor. The arrest occurred June 11, and on August 1, Craig pled guilty via mail to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct.
After the congressional watchdog paper Roll Call broke the story on August 27, Craig’s hometown paper, the Boise-based Idaho Statesman, ran a story detailing the Senator’s sexual history which they had been compiling for months, including allegations by three men that Craig had solicited or performed sexual acts with them. Craig held a press conference where he denied his guilt, but nevertheless conveyed his intent to resign his seat effective September 30. Instead, Craig attempted to retract his original guilty plea, and ended up finishing his Senate term, but did not run for re-election in 2008.
Born 20 July 1945, Craig’s natal Pecker is prominently placed at 22 Leo, conjoined natal Mercury at 24 Leo, opposed an illuminating Quasar at 24 Aquarius, and squared to Mars atop the controversy-rousing Maser at 28 Taurus. A close pairing of Venus and Uranus at 13 and 15 Gemini reflects a placement common to homosexuals, who often have linked these planets of romance and unconventionality.
At the time of his arrest on June 11, 2007, transit Mars and Pecker were conjoined at 20 and 22 Aries, trine natal Pecker/Mercury and transit Saturn, creeping up on the natal conjunction from 20 Leo, an unfortunate combination of sexual energies with career (Saturn) and possible press involvement (Mercury). A vibrant T-Square of transiting major and minor celestials was also keyed on that natal Pecker/Mercury, namely Damocles (impending doom), Neptune (deception, confusion, poor judgment, disillusionment) and Achilles (congenital weak spot) opposed from 19, 21 and 23 Aquarius respectively, with Icarus (rash, impulsive, ill-considered action) squared from 20 Taurus.
When the story finally broke on August 27, transit Pecker at 13 Taurus was exactly opposed asteroid Nemesis, representing karmic self-undoing, at 13 Scorpio, T-Squared by Damocles at 16 Aquarius, all points in aspect to the natal Venus/Uranus conjunction of 13/15 Gemini, which was itself squared by transit Mercury (the press) at 14 Virgo.
The revelation of another Democratic sexual scandal made news on 10 March 2008, when the New York Times reported on New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s involvement in an interstate prostitution ring, the Emperor’s Club VIP, to which he had paid more than $80,000 for escort services over several years. His resignation followed two days later. As with Foley, Spitzer should have known better—he spent much of his earlier career as a District Attorney and as New York’s Attorney General, prosecuting just such cases as his own. Known as “the Sherrif of Wall Street” for his aggressive prosecution of corrupt banking figures, and once mooted as the likely first Jewish president of the United States, Spitzer’s fall was complete. His squeaky clean image eroded overnight, leaving him just another flawed and sleazy politician.
Born 10 June 1959, Spitzer’s natal Pecker is exactly atop his North Node at 10 Libra, and exactly opposed a highlighting Quasar at 10 Aries, with Pecker also semisquare (45 degrees) to natal Jupiter at 24 Scorpio, combining sex and politics in ways too obvious to miss (Quasar). The nodal contact suggests a fated or predestined quality to Pecker’s manifestations, which definitely impact Spitzer’s future (North Node). When the Times story broke, transit Pecker at 16 Taurus was exactly conjoined a reality-warping, reversal-prone Black Hole, and bringing out a natal opposition from Uranus at 13 Leo, itself atop a controversy-provoking Maser, to Damocles on the Black Hole at 13 Aquarius and asteroid Lust close by at 18 Aquarius. The shocking (Maser) revelations (Uranus) of Spitzer’s sexual improprieties (Pecker) and uncontrolled passions (Lust) had brought home to roost the impending doom that had been hanging over his head for years (Damocles), eliciting the dramatic change in status (Black Hole).
Clearly, politicians’ Peckers have been wreaking havoc across the political spectrum for years. But then, what else is new?