Alex Miller, Asteroid Files

The Naughty Bits, Part II: Asteroid Lust

by Alex Miller on September 1, 2010

UCLA's Palomar Observatory—site of Lust's discovery in 1960

Asteroid Lust (#4386) is yet another of those “cross-over” personal-named asteroids, meant to commemorate one thing, but effective in delineating another. Discovered in 1960 at the Palomar Observatory, Lust is a Main Belt asteroid named for German astronomer Reimar Lust (pronounced “loost”), former general director of the Max Planck Society and the European Space Agency.

Like asteroid Pecker (#1629), named for a director of the Nice Observatory in southern France [see my article on Pecker in the December 2009 Daykeeper Journal], asteroid Lust has an astrological application far beyond the namer’s intent, functioning well as an indicator of its English cognate “lust.”  This is not entirely surprising, as the English lust is derived from the original German, which means “pleasure, joy, desire and delight,” whereas its English descendant’s meaning is more focused on carnal desire and sexual appetite, sometimes also used to describe an ardent craving (as in “lust for power”) or enthusiastic embrace (as in “lust for life”).

In its more hedonistic definition, asteroid Lust appears prominently in just the sorts of places you’d expect to find it, in the charts of those who promote sexual desire, symbolically represent it culturally, and become famous or infamous for its action in their lives.

Hugh Hefner, who founded Playboy magazine in 1953 with a start-up loan of $1000 from his mother, was instrumental in dragging America out of its puritanical stance on sexual matters.  Playboy was the first notable high-gloss publication enshrining the joys of unclothed feminine pulchritude for a generation of post-war American men in a format beyond the overtly seedy one of the standard pornography of the day.  With an expanded focus on living the good life in general, encompassing wine, cigars, financial investing and travel, Playboy’s contributors over the years have included John Steinbeck, Somerset Maugham, Vladimir Nabokov, John Updike, Gore Vidal and Ray Bradbury, among others, allowing men to reasonably suggest to their wives that they really did buy it “just for the articles.”

But when it came right down to it, it was smut that sold, and Hefner parlayed that $1000 loan into a fortune estimated at $43 million at his September 2009 divorce filing, even with Playboy Enterprises stocks down some 80% in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.  Hef’s (born 9 April 1926) asteroid Lust is as prominently displayed as a Playboy centerfold model; at 28 Aquarius, it conjoins Jupiter at 20 Aquarius and a Black Hole at 27 Aquarius, and is squared to Saturn at 25 Scorpio retrograde.

Hugh Hefner, Lust in Aquarius

Hugh Hefner, Lust in Aquarius

Lust’s ensnarement by the Black Hole indicates the effect it would have on transforming Hefner’s personal reality, and in Aquarius, this resonates also to the societal level and the marketplace, where Playboy found a welcoming audience and helped to pave the way from the straight-laced ‘50s to the sexual libertinism of the “free love” ‘60s.  In conjunction with Jupiter, we see it as integral to Hefner’s personal philosophy of “living the good life” embodied in his magazine, and Jupiter’s rulership of publication indicates the path Hefner’s Lust would take to express itself.  The square to Saturn shows Lust as central to his career goals, not just something peripheral or solely personal and private.

Twenty years after Hef’s publication broke ground, Larry Flynt’s Hustler carved its own niche in an American psyche that had become noticeably blase and jaded about things sexual after the erotic ferment of the intervening two decades.  Flynt began Hustler Enterprises in 1968 with a chain of clubs, and began producing a small newsletter for patrons in 1972 which morphed into Hustler magazine in 1974.  Grittier and more focused on pure, often aberrant, sexuality than Playboy (Hustler was the first broadly distributed men’s magazine to include “pink shots,” of women with spread vulvas), Hustler’s hardcore pornographic bent went on to earn its founder an estimated $400 million by 2001.

Larry Flynt, Lust in Capricorn

Lust in Capricorn—Larry Flynt

Flynt’s (born 1 November 1942) asteroid Lust at 22 Capricorn forms a strong T-Square with an opposition to Jupiter at 25 Cancer and a square to a Mercury/Mars conjunction at 21 and 29 Libra.  As with Hefner, the contact with Jupiter/publishing is key; in this case, more focused on the overtly sexual, with Mars in the mix (add in Mercury, ruling the hands, and we have a rather obvious image of the typical sexual response evoked in men by Flynt’s videos and magazines).  In contrast, Hefner’s Lust is conjoined his Venus at 2 Pisces, providing a more romantic (Venus), idealized (Pisces), soft-focus image of women than Flynt’s “splay for pay” style.  Mercury’s focus on commerce was also instrumental, for Larry Flynt Publications included a distribution arm, something Playboy did not, allowing Flynt to reap greater profits from Hustler.

As an aside it should be noted here that both Flynt and Hefner have asteroid Pecker in aspect to Lust (Flynt’s in sextile and Hefner’s in semisextile), while Hefner has asteroid Fanny semisextile to Venus, and Flynt has it conjunct Jupiter.

Xaviera Hollander, the Happy Hooker

Xaviera Hollander, the "Happy Hooker," Lust in Pisces square Sun/Saturn

Another icon of ‘70s sexuality was Xaviera Hollander, better known as “the Happy Hooker.”  A noted New York City madam, Hollander’s 1971 memoir of the same name made a sensation; remarkably frank about her experiences with prostitution, its publication is considered a milestone in the sphere of writing about sex with a positive focus.

The book was made into a movie in 1975, with Lynn Redgrave in the title role, and Hollander went on to write a successful advice column for Penthouse magazine for 35 years, entitled “Call Me Madam.”  Hollander’s (born 15 June 1943) asteroid Lust at 20 Pisces is squared her 23 Gemini Sun, making hers the most personal involvement with the emotion it invokes, which, as a practicing prostitute, is only apt.  The square includes Saturn at 17 Gemini, indicating her gravitation to inciting lust in others as a profession, and this Saturn exactly opposes a Black Hole at 17 Sagittarius, depicting the reality-warping effect sex-as-job would have on Hollander, transporting her from infancy in a Japanese interment camp in Indonesia to a celebrated adulthood at the forefront of the sexual revolution and women’s liberation movements.  Lust is also in trine to Jupiter at 26 Cancer, prefiguring the successful writing and publishing career.

So much for the smut peddlers.  Another area of consideration is those individuals held up on a pedestal by their societies as objects of sexual desire, embodiments of what the culture deems lust-worthy.  Many of these sex symbols have Lust in disproportionate importance in their charts.

Theda Bara (born 29 July 1885), often cited as the first sex symbol in American cinema, was a silent film star whose provocative image and femme fatale roles catapulted her to international stardom.  Filmed in skimpy, risque, sometimes transparent costumes which left little to the imagination, Bara created an exotic persona that belied her humble Cincinnatti roots (her stage name is an anagram of “Arab Death,” and her studio circulated stories that she was of French-Italian extraction, born in Egypt).

Theda Bara, "the Vamp" America's first cinematic sex symbol—Lust in Scorpio

Theda Bara, the "Vamp," America's first cinematic sex symbol, with Lust in Scorpio square Leo sun

Nicknamed “The Vamp” (short for “vampire,” a legendary figure that had just achieved its most notable sexualization at the hands of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” in 1897), the term passed into colloquial American speech as a synonym for a sexually predatory, rapacious female.  Bara’s Lust at 3 Scorpio is tightly squared her 6 Leo Sun, which is quintile Neptune at 25 Taurus, linking the escapist fantasy of celluloid with her core being and sexuality.  Lust is also trine Saturn at 2 Cancer, indicating its importance in molding her career.

Rudolph Valentino—Lust in Cancer conjunct Mars/Jupiter

Rudolph Valentino—Lust in Cancer conjunct Mars/Jupiter

Bara’s male contemporary Rudolph Valentino, known predominantly by just his surname, made an equivalent impact on female audiences.  Born in Italy on 6 May 1895, Valentino came to the US as a penniless immigrant in 1913.  Beginning in films as a bit player in 1917, his title turn as “The Sheik” in 1921 cemented his image as the “Latin Lover,” and propelled him into international prominence as one of the most popular silent film stars of the ‘20s.  His untimely death from peritonitis following an emergency appendectomy in 1926, at age 31, sent paroxysms of grief and mass hysteria through his fan base; more than 100,000 people lined the streets of New York to view his funeral cortege.  He remains an icon of male sensuality to this day, and his name evokes the glittering grandeur of a bygone age.

Valentino’s asteroid Lust at 3 Cancer lies on a Black Hole conjunct natal Jupiter and Mars at 4 and 8 Cancer, and semisquare the 16 Taurus Sun.  The transformative power of the Black Hole created his larger-than-life (Jupiter) image as a sex symbol (Lust), the foreign, ethnic-looking (Jupiter) “Latin Lover” (Mars) of millions of female fantasies.

In a later era, acting contemporaries Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield filled a similar role for panting male libidos.  These iconic film presences dominated the ‘50s and early ‘60s with their platinum-haired buxomness, personifying the term “Blonde Bombshell.”  Both Monroe and Valentino died tragically young, Monroe of a barbiturate overdose in 1962 at age 36, and Mansfield in a car accident in 1967, aged 34.

Marilyn Monroe—Lust at 8 Pisces is tightly squared her 10 Gemini Sun

Marilyn Monroe—Lust at 8 Pisces tightly squared her 10 Gemini Sun

Monroe’s first acting attempts were tentative, but in 1953 she rocketed to stardom with “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and “How To Marry a Millionaire,” which showcased her “dumb blonde” persona to perfection.   Monroe went on to achieve a recognized dramatic reach in 1956′s “Bus Stop,” and received a Golden Globe award for her performance in “Some Like It Hot” (1959).  Monroe’s story interlocks with Hefner’s—she appeared on the cover of the first issue of Playboy in 1953, and was its first nude centerfold spread.  Monroe’s (born 6.1.26) natal asteroid Lust at 8 Pisces is tightly squared her 10 Gemini Sun, and lies on the midpoint of Jupiter at 26 Aquarius and Mars at 20 Pisces, expanding (Jupiter) her “oomph!” factor (Lust) and sex appeal (Mars).

Jayne Mansfield, Lust at 23 Aries exactly conjoins a Black Hole, Sun and Venus

Jayne Mansfield (born 19 April 1933) burst on the Hollywood scene in 1957, reprising her Broadway stage role in the film version of “Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?”, starring opposite Tony Randall.  In 1963, she was the first mainstream American film actress to appear onscreen in the nude, in Tommy Noonan’s “Promises! Promises!”  Nude photos of Mansfield taken on the set were later published by Hefner in Playboy; the sold-out issue garnered Hef an obscenity charge, later dropped.

For Mansfield, it was anatomy rather than talent that made an impression; at 5’8″, she sported a 46DD endowment.  Mansfield was remarkably candid and unselfconscious about her path to stardom. During the height of a press feeding frenzy over her in 1957, when the emerging nymphet was being constantly compared to Monroe, Mansfield remarked, “I don’t know why you people [the press] like to compare me to Marilyn or that girl, what’s her name, Kim Novak.  Cleavage, of course, helped me a lot to get where I am.  I don’t know how they got there.”  Mansfield’s natal Lust at 23 Aries exactly conjoins a Black Hole, as well as the Sun and Venus, both at 28 Aries.

Brigite Bardot Asteroid Lust

Brigitte Bardot, Lust conjunct Mars in Leo

Brigitte Bardot (born 28 September 1934) was a French counterpart of Monroe and Mansfield, and began her film career at about the same time, becoming another international icon of sex and sensuality.  The sultry, blonde Bardot started as a fashion model, and met director Roger Vadim after appearing on the cover of ELLE magazine in 1950.  They married in 1952, and in 1956 Vadim showcased her in “And God Created Woman,” which established her as a force in French cinema. They divorced in 1957 and Bardot went on to critical acclaim under the direction of Louis Malle in “Vie Privee” (1960) and Jean-Luc Godard in “Contempt” (1963).

Bardot also made her mark on fashion, where the Bardot neckline is named for her (a wide cut exposing both shoulders); she is further credited with popularizing bikini swimwear, new in the ‘50s, and the choucroute hairstyle, a type of modified beehive.  Bardot retired from films in 1973, just before her fortieth birthday, and has used her fame to promote charity work for animal rights. Bardot’s natal asteroid Lust at 20 Leo is conjunct Mars at 18 Leo, both semisquare the Sun at 4 Libra.

Pop singer Madonna (born 16 August 1958, 7:05 AM EDT, Bay City, MI) is an example of a different sort; an acknowledged sex symbol, yes, but she used sex as a more directly marketed tool to success, consciously pushing the boundaries of how aggressively women could use the lust they aroused in others to further their careers.

Part of Madonna’s appeal is the dichotomous interplay of her name with her persona. Named for the Virgin Mary (“Madonna” is her given birth name), she shamelessly trades on the contrast between that and her own hyper-sexualized image, embodying a sort of modern-day sacred whore.

Madonna, Lust at the IC

Madonna, Lust on the IC

Her impact on ‘80s pop culture and fashion cannot be overstated.  At one point, entire sections of major department stores like Macy’s had their own “Madonna style” centers, where young teen girls could purchase lingerie-looking outfits to replicate their idol’s fashion sense.  Madonna’s interplay of sex and innocence continued through her second album, 1984′s “Like a Virgin,” via the more overtly sexual “Blond Ambition World Tour” in 1990, where she simulated masturbation on stage, to 1992′s release of her fifth album, “Erotica,” coinciding with her first book, “Sex.”

Madonna consciously forged bonds with the women who paved her way in commercializing their sexualized personas—in the video for “Material Girl,” a track from “Like a Virgin”, she sports a Marilyn Monroe hairstyle and dress from “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”, and the Gaultier-designed, exaggerated metallic cone bras she wore onstage in her tours were a clear throw-back homage to the female sex icons of the ‘50s.

For Madonna, the schtick worked—with more than 300 million albums sold worldwide, she is the top-selling female recording artist of all time.  Madonna’s natal asteroid Lust at 3 Gemini is exactly conjunct her IC, thus exactly opposed her MC, ruling career and worldly status, which is itself conjoined a reality-warping Black Hole, transporting her to the heights of global fame and success.  Lust at the IC is foundational for her, the basis of all that she has built upon throughout her life.  Lust is also trine Venus at 0 Leo, and squared Pluto at 1 Virgo, the source of the power she garnered from its clever use, and the gifted way she manipulated its effects to her own ends.

Asteroid Lust also features prominently in the charts of those who have become famed for its action in their personal lives, and how this affected their public image.  Perhaps one of the most famous womanizers of our day was basketball giant Wilt Chamberlain (born 21 August 1936), who in his 1991 autobiography “A View From Above” claimed to have slept with 20,000 women.  Since that figure represents a rate of 9 women per week from the age of 15 until the book was published, its accuracy may be looked at somewhat askance, but it nevertheless represents the image which Chamberlain’s activities fostered.  Of his client’s multiplicitous amours, Chamberlain’s lawyer commented, “Some people collect stamps; Wilt collected women.”

Wilt Chamberlain, Asteroid Lust

Basketball star and renowned womanizer Wilt Chamberlain—Lust conjunct the Black Hole at 18 Sagittarius

Chamberlain never married, stating that in living his life as a confirmed bachelor and womanizer, “I was just doing what was natural—chasing good-looking ladies, whoever they were and wherever they were available.” Chamberlain’s natal asteroid Lust at 19 Sagittarius is conjunct a Black Hole at 18 Sagittarius, indicating the immense pull it had on his psyche, and Jupiter at 14 Sagittarius, heightening and increasing its effects in a larger-than-life manner that became legendary. Lust also forms a T-Square with Venus at 13 Virgo and Saturn at 20 Pisces, becoming the outlet for a primal opposition between Venus and Saturn that may have prevented him from forming lasting bonds.

Bill Clinton is another fine example of Lust gone wrong. The most famed adulterer to ever sit in the Oval Office, Clinton’s reputation as a womanizer is virtually unequaled in American politics. From allegations of rape by Juanita Broaddrick and unwanted advances by Kathleen Willey and Paula Jones, to admissions of consensual affairs with Gennifer Flowers, Elizabeth Ward Gracen, Sally Perdue, Dolly Kyle Browning and Monica Lewinsky, Clinton’s extramarital escapades were the talk of the nation.

Several of these formed significant issues in his career: the revelations of the affair with Gennifer Flowers almost sank his 1992 presidential campaign; testimony given in the Paula Jones lawsuit led directly to the charge of Clinton lying under oath which formed the legal basis of the impeachment proceedings against him as president; and the affair with Monica Lewinsky sufficiently tarnished Clinton’s image to the point of eroding support for Al Gore’s bid to succeed him in office.

Bill Clinton, Lust on the Ascendant

Bill Clinton, Lust on the Ascendant

Bill Clinton’s (born 19 August 1946, 8:51 AM CDT, Hope AR) natal asteroid Lust at 2 Libra is closely conjunct the 5 Libra Ascendant as well as Mars and Neptune, both at 6 Libra, and exactly sextile the 2 Leo Saturn. Its placement on the Ascendant is most significant—Clinton’s lust became a huge part of how others saw him, the primary function of the Ascendant. In conjunction with Mars, and further conjoined the supermassive Black Hole at 1 Libra, Lust here ramps up the sexual energies to fever pitch, and creates a massive, inescapable pull on the psyche. With Neptune, we see the resulting confusion and disappointment, for himself and his supporters, and the sextile to Saturn shows the negative impact on Clinton’s career.

Tiger Woods’ fall from grace as the golden boy of the pro golf circuit is directly attributable to his inability to control his Lust, as exemplified in the revelations of ongoing affairs with more than a dozen women during his marriage. The serial adulterer’s escapades became news in December 2009, and precipitated a withdrawal from the sport and a public relations nightmare from which Woods has still not completely rebounded.

Tiger Woods, Lust in Capricorn on 4th-5th house cusp

Tiger Woods, Lust in Capricorn on Fourth-Fifth House cusp

Woods’ (born 30 December 1975, 10:50 PM PST, Long Beach, CA) natal asteroid Lust falls at 25 Capricorn, straddling the cusp between the Fourth and Fifth Houses in his horoscope, conjoined Mercury at 26 Capricorn, squared Chiron at 23 Aries, and sextile Venus at 28 Scorpio. Lust with Mercury is an unfortunate combination, linking Woods’ sexual excesses to the Media, all the moreso as this pair is also conjunct a Pulsar at 26 Capricorn, an informational deep space anomaly whose activation often yields newsworthy results. The square to Chiron shows the wounding Woods has received from these disclosures, and the sextile to Venus describes the effect upon his wife and the women he indulged in affairs with. Caught between the Fourth and Fifth House, we see the ramifications of Woods’ pursuit of pleasure (Fifth House) on his domestic arrangements (Fourth House), his infidelities precipitating a break with his wife and family.

Lust’s effects continue today. When Jupiter turned direct on July 23, 2010 at 3 Aries, it did so in exact conjunction with transit asteroid Lust and a Pulsar, and further allegations of lustful behavior emerged against former Vice President Al Gore, a seemingly unlikely source. Gore’s marriage to Tipper had long been acclaimed a true love match (albeit Gore’s suggestion that the couple was the inspiration for “Love Story” was disputed by its author), and the couple’s announcement that they were parting ways on June 1, 2010 was unexpected and shocking. Their 40-year bond was symbolized for many Americans by the six-second onstage lip-lock engaged in by the couple at Gore’s nomination for president during the 2000 Democratic Convention, and there had never been any suggestion of scandal or infidelity touching Gore. That changed dramatically three weeks later on June 24, with the revelation of accusations made by a massage therapist in Portland, Oregon, who claimed that Gore made unwanted sexual advances and groped her during a session at a hotel where he was staying while giving a speech on climate change in October 2006.

What initially appeared to be a one-time “he said/she said” allegation became a pattern on July 23 when two other massage therapists came forward to accuse Gore. One incident occurred in Beverly Hills, CA, in 2007, when Gore attended the Oscars; according to the masseuse, the former VP shrugged off his towel, stood naked before her with an erect penis, and demanded, “Take care of this!” The third incident allegedly occurred in Tokyo in 2008.

The symbolism of these allegations could not be more apt, as under a Jupiter station conjunct Lust and a Pulsar we could expect to see news (Pulsar) about a politician (Jupiter) in a sexually-compromising circumstance (Lust). That it should turn out to be Al Gore stems from the fact that the station fell within 7 degrees of his 10 Aries Sun, and exactly squared the 3 Capricorn Moon, then being paid a courtesy call by transit Pluto, which rules both sex and scandal. The shock value of this disclosure should not be underestimated, considering transit Uranus’ close conjunction from 0 Aries, and with Saturn opposing from 0 Libra, the consequences to Gore’s career could be considerable.

Al Gore, Lust's fated victim

Al Gore, Lust's fated victim

Asteroid Lust in Gore’s natal chart (born 31 March 1948, 12:53 PM EDT, Washington, DC) falls at 13 Aquarius, conjunct a Black Hole, exactly semisquare natal Jupiter (politics) at 28 Sagittarius, and opposed a triple conjunction of Pluto, Saturn and Mars at 12, 15 and 18 Leo, which in and of itself suggests a potential for a devastating scandal and destruction (Pluto) of a career (Saturn) due to a sexual matter (Mars). This opposition transforms into a Grand Cross with the squares to the Nodal Axis at 16 Taurus and Scorpio, lending a fated element, with the North Node also conjunct centaur Nessus at 9 Taurus, a minor body which describes inappropriate sexual advances or behaviors. Lust also forms a Grand Trine with asteroid Pecker at 11 Gemini and Neptune at 11 Libra, indicating an advanced degree of sexual fantasy and possible fetishism. This becomes a Kite pattern with the inclusion of Gore’s Sun at 10 Aries, in sextile to both Pecker and Lust, and the Sun is itself conjunct Eros at 12 Aries, a point also noted for sexual excess.

With a resume like this, Lust easily claims a place at the table for asteroids which astrologers would do well to consider when delineating the sexual propensities of their clients. One wonders what the unwitting astronomer who named this body for a noted colleague would make of all this.

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