What’s with all the sex stuff? From Arnold’s love child to Weiner’s … well, wiener, the merry old month of May 2011 was wracked with one sex scandal after another, as well as a pair of bookending karmic comeuppances for prior offenders.
Part of the responsibility for this surely lies with centaur Nessus, a comet-like body which orbits between Neptune and Saturn. Nessus is named for a character in Greek myth whom Hercules killed after the lusty centaur had tried some funny business with Hercules’ wife Deianeira while carrying her across a river. With his dying breath the wily Nessus tells Deianeira that his blood will bring the hero back to her if he ever strays, so she collects and keeps it. Later, when she suspects Heracles is untrue, she smears the blood on a shirt and sends it to her husband, realizing too late that the blood is actually poisonous. Fatally wounded with the burns caused by the blood, Heracles expires in agony, and Zeus grants him immortal life on Olympus.
Thus the astrological Nessus represents a variety of themes: betrayed trust, poisonous jealousy, but chiefly inappropriate sexual actions, anything from outright rape to harassment at work. As such, Nessus often shows up prominently in the charts of sexual offenders or those whose sexual antics become a scandal or a point of public notice. In this day and age, things such as sexting can be included in Nessus’ bailiwick.
Taking 122 years to circle the sun, Nessus moves fairly slowly, on average about three degrees a year (though its orbit is erratic and this varies widely from aphelion to perihelion). During the month or so of the outbreak of sex stories, it was at the same degree, 23 Aquarius, stationing to turn retrograde during the period.
It squared the Sun when IMF executive Dominique Strauss Kahn allegedly attempted to rape a New York hotel housemaid on May 14, and was still squared on May 16 when news broke of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s out-of-wedlock son fathered on a staffer.
It was turning retrograde as Anthony Weiner Twittered his erect penis on May 28, and when a second alleged banker-on-hotel-maid sexual assault occurred, involving Mahmoud Abdel Salam Omar on May 29.
It was sextile a rare conjunction of Mars, Jupiter and TNO Eris on May 3 when John Ensign resigned his Senate seat before his likely expulsion, resulting from a scandalous 2008 affair-and-firing incident with a staffer.
It squared Venus on June 3 when John Edwards was indicted for using nearly a million dollars in campaign funds to hide his pregnant mistress and their love child during his 2008 presidential run.
In addition, Nessus is active natally for all these men, as well as having a clear record of involvement in many such cases in the past.
On May 14 2011, 62-year-old Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund and a likely 2012 French presidential candidate, was arrested in New York City after allegedly assaulting a 32-year-old African emigree maid at the Sofitel Hotel. Strauss-Kahn has been charged with forcing anal and oral sexual contact with the maid. His arrest later that same day occurred as Strauss-Kahn attempted to flee the US by plane. He denies all charges and was released on $1 million USD bail and a $5 million bond.
On the day of his arrest, transit Nessus at 23 Aquarius was exactly squared the Sun at 23 Taurus, and also squared asteroid Pecker at 21 Taurus, while sextile Jupiter (bankers, politicians, sexual infidelity) at 25 Aries. Asteroids Dominique (#4020) at 17 Aries and Kahnia (#4563, for Kahn) at 28 Aries are both conjunct Jupiter, with asteroid Strauss (#4559) at 9 Libra retrograde conjoined Saturn (executives) at 11 Libra retrograde and squared Pluto (scandals, taboo, coercion) at 7 Capricorn retrograde. Kahnia was also exactly conjunct Mercury and Venus, and within orb of Mars at 2 Taurus and asteroid Lust at 3 Taurus, giving us a picture of Kahn (Kahnia) carried away by sexual impulses beyond his control (Lust) and assaulting (Mars) a much younger (Mercury) female (Venus) servant (Mercury).
Born 25 April 1949, Strauss-Kahn’s natal Sun/Venus conjunction at 5 and 7 Taurus was crowded by transit Kahnia/Mercury/Venus and Mars/Lust, with natal Mars at 26 Aries also conjunct these and transit Jupiter as well. The natal Sun is also conjoined natal Nessus at 11 Taurus, so Strauss-Kahn naturally embodies this energy of sexual assault and inappropriate actions.
Transit Saturn at 11 Libra was thus exactly inconjunct natal Nessus, as well as exactly squared natal asteroid Strauss at 11 Capricorn, which, with natal asteroid Pandora (unleashing a torrent of troubles) at 13 Capricorn, has just been hit hard by the January 4th Solar Eclipse at 13 Capricorn. Transit Kahnia/Mercury/Venus at 28 Aries all exactly conjoin natal asteroid Askalaphus (denoting tale-bearing or being informed upon) and exactly oppose Strauss-Kahn’s natal asteroid Dominique at 28 Libra retrograde, which is conjunct natal Pecker at 22 Libra, further personalizing rampant sexual energies to the banker-politician.
Transit asteroid Aristaeus, named for another would-be rapist in Greek myth (he attempted to force his attentions upon Eurydice, who in fleeing his advances trod upon a poisonous serpent, which bit and killed her), at 18 Taurus is within orb of the transit Sun and exactly conjunct Strauss-Kahn’s natal Mercury (servants, maids); natal Aristaeus at 21 Capricorn is squared natal Pecker at 22 Libra. Natal Lust at 27 Pisces is exactly squared natal Uranus (shocks, revelations) at 27 Gemini; Lust is also the Apex of a Yod, or Finger of Destiny, composed of inconjunct aspects to natal Dominique at 28 Libra and Saturn at 29 Leo.
Two days later it was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s turn to grab the sexual scandal headlines, as he admitted paternity of an out-of-wedlock child he’d had 13 years ago with his longtime housekeeper and mistress, Mildred Patricia “Patty” Baena. Their son Joseph was born just a week after Arnold’s wife Maria Shriver gave birth to their youngest child. Schwarzenegger stated he informed Shriver of the affair and his love child in January 2011, after stepping down as California’s governor. The couple had announced their separation on May 9, just a week earlier, after 25 years of marriage.
The Sun at 25 Taurus was still within orb of the Nessus square, with Pecker applying closer to the square from 22 Taurus. Also conjoined the Sun were asteroids Mildred (#878, the legal first name of Arnold’s mistress) and Josephina (#303, for their son Joseph) at 3 and 4 Gemini, both opposed asteroid Patricia (#436, for “Patty”, Baena’s commonly used nickname) at 6 Sagittarius. Asteroid Arnolda (#1018, for Arnold) at 11 Aries exactly opposes Saturn (governor) at 11 Libra and is conjunct Uranus (shocks, revelations) at 3 Aries, which is itself sextile Mildred/Josephina. Arnolda is also semisquare both the Sun and Nessus, roughly on their midpoint.
Nessus is also prominent in Schwarzenegger’s (born 30 July 1947) birth chart. At 10 Taurus, it squares a Sun/Saturn/Pluto conjunction at 6, 11 and 12 Leo, and forms a T-Square with asteroid Josefa (#649, also for Joseph) at 12 Scorpio. Semisquare the Sun stellium is asteroid Mildred at 24 Virgo, conjoined Nemesis, the point of karmic retribution and undoing, at 26 Virgo. Asteroid Patricia at 3 Libra is sextile the Sun and was exactly opposed by Uranus (revelations) at 3 Aries when the affair and child was revealed, with Schwarzenegger’s natal asteroid Pecker at 29 Taurus conjoined by the transit Sun at 25 Taurus, which is also exactly inconjunct his natal asteroid Josephina at 25 Libra.
On May 27, Nessus stationed to turn retrograde, and right on cue, another sex scandal exploded in the US, this one highlighting Nessus’ Aquarian locale, ruling the Internet in general, and social networking sites specifically, when a US congressman inadvertently used his public Twitter account to sext a lewd photo. On the following day, conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart released the image, a crotch shot of a man’s erect penis in underpants, purportedly sent via Twitter by Representative Anthony Weiner (D-NY) to a 21-year-old college student in Seattle. At first Weiner alleged that he had been pranked, his Twitter account hacked, but he remained noncommittal about whether the photo in question was actually of himself.
For days he hotly denied any direct involvement, appearing on every venue imaginable, and even calling a press conference to refute the allegations on June 1. On the 6th, Breitbart released a second photo, of a shirtless man who was clearly Weiner, prompting the congressman to admit that all the photos were of him. In a public apology, Weiner stated, “This was me doing a dumb thing, and doing it repeatedly, and lying about it.” He declared that no physical contact had ever occurred between himself and any of the several women who now came forward to provide salacious details of their online interactions, and further stated that he had no plans to resign.
On the 8th an explicitly x-rated photo of Weiner surfaced, followed on the 10th by the revelation that one of his correspondents was a 17-year-old girl in Delaware. Calls for his resignation from Democratic colleagues, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, escalated. The House was in recess for two weeks for the Memorial Day holiday, and Weiner requested a further leave of absence on the 11th, to undergo unspecified “treatment.” On the 15th, the story broadened to include former porn actress Ginger Lee, and on the 16th, Weiner resigned.
When the story first broke on May 28, the Sun at 6 Gemini was conjunct asteroid Wiener (#18182, for Anthony Weiner, and also a common euphemism for penis) at 7 Gemini, and these were also broadly conjunct asteroid Pecker at 27 Taurus.
Pecker itself was conjunct asteroid House (for the US House of Representatives, Weiner’s workplace) at 26 Taurus, and both these were conjunct Weiner’s natal (born 4 September 1964) Jupiter (politicians, infidelity) at 25 Taurus and natal asteroid Dick (#17458, another common term for penis) at 23 Taurus, which was exactly squared by stationing Nessus.
Further, Nessus was activating a T-square in Weiner’s birth chart, formed of Jupiter/Dick squared to both asteroid Weiner at 24 Leo and Antonia (#272, for Anthony) at 25 Aquarius, and both of these were further activated by transits, from asteroid Photographica, representing photos and images, on Weiner at 21 Leo, and asteroid Icarus, representing rash, reckless actions heedless of the consequences, on Antonia at 27 Aquarius, which was thus both conjoined transit Nessus and exactly squared transit Pecker at 27 Taurus when Weiner mistakenly broadcast his penis on the Internet.
The transit Sun/Wiener conjunction had just conjoined Weiner’s natal Nessus at 5 Gemini, all points squared his natal Uranus (shocks, revelations)/Sun (self-identity)/ Pluto (scandals, taboo) conjunction, and on the date of the first press conference on June 1, the Solar Eclipse at 9 Gemini made an even tighter square to this combination spelling potential devastation (Pluto) due to nonconformist (Uranus) behavior.
The subsequent Lunar Eclipse at 24 Sagittarius on June 15, the day before Weiner’s resignation, opposed his natal Pecker at 28 Gemini, which had been conjoined when the story broke by asteroids Achilles (the congenital weak spot, or Achilles heel) and Hebe (representing young girls and hebephilia, the sexual attraction for same), both at 24 Gemini.
By the 16th and the actual resignation, transit Pecker had moved to 6 Gemini to exactly conjoin the Sun for the photo’s release. Natal Pecker was particularly unfortunately placed for the timing of the scandal, with transit asteroid Tantalus (tantalizing, tempting) at 26 Gemini in conjunction when the story broke, and asteroid Salacia (salacious, obsessive focus on sexual matters) at 24 Pisces in square, both points acting to increase public awareness and interest in the story.
Also that same weekend of the Weiner scandal, a second international banker was arrested on sexual molestation charges, closely mirroring the earlier Strauss-Kahn incident. Retired Egyptian banker Mahmoud Abdel Salam Omar, 74, former president of the Bank of Alexandria, was accused of sexual assault of a maid at the Pierre Hotel in Manhattan on May 29, with Nessus still at its station.
The Sun/Wiener conjunction remains in force, with Wiener now lagging behind the Sun by a degree (8 and 7 Gemini respectively). Other pertinent conjunctions forming include Mercury (servants, maids) at 22 Taurus with Pecker at 28 Taurus, and Dick at 2 Taurus with Lust at 8 Taurus; Dick also remains within orb of Jupiter, ruling bankers, at 28 Aries. [Author’s note: unfortunately, birth data for Omar was unavailable.]
Two other men behaving badly who felt the fallout of prior sex scandals during this period were Nevada Senator John Ensign, who resigned his seat effective May 3, just a half step in front of expulsion by the Ethics Committee; and former Senator and Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards, who was indicted June 3 on charges of misuse of campaign funds for spending close to $1 million to keep hidden his mistress and their love child.
The Ensign affair is a complex one, dating from 2007 when the Nevada Senator began a romantic relationship with Cindy Hampton, a campaign fundraising staffer whose husband Doug was a top aide in Ensign’s Senate office. Doug discovered the affair shortly after its inception, and protested to Ensign, but the family’s financial dependence upon the Senator (collectively the Hamptons were paid nearly $20,000 per month, plus an additional $96,000 paid to Doug Hampton for his cooperation by Ensign’s parents in April 2008) ensured his public silence.
In May 2008, both Hamptons were removed from Ensign’s employ, and he found Doug a lobbying job with the firm of a close friend, in violation of Senate ethics rules. The affair formally ended that August, and the following spring of 2009, Ensign’s office alleged that Doug Hampton approached the Senator for an $8.5 million settlement in exchange for his silence, which was denied.
In June 2009, Doug Hampton emailed Fox News to expose the affair, prompting Ensign to issue an acknowledgment and apology, after which he resigned his Party leadership position, but retained his seat and announced his intention to run for re-election in 2012. In March 2010 a federal grand jury was empaneled to investigate the matter, followed by a Senate Ethics Committee investigation in February 2011. On March 7, Ensign announced he would not seek re-election in 2012, and on the 24th the federal grand jury issued an indictment for violation of criminal conflict of interest laws. By late April the Ethics Committee was rumored to be recommending expulsion for Ensign, who on the 21st announced he would resign his Senate seat effective May 3.
On the date of Ensign’s resignation, transit Nessus at 23 Aquarius was sextile a potent combination of Jupiter (politicians) and TNO Eris (strife, discord) at 22 Aries, conjoined by Mars (sex) at 24 Aries and asteroid Dick at 21 Aries, with asteroid Douglas (#2684, for Doug Hampton) at 28 Aries. Asteroid Pecker at 16 Taurus is conjunct the 12 Taurus Sun, with asteroid Wiener at 26 Taurus squaring Nessus. Pecker is also sextile asteroid Cynthia (#15992, for Cindy Hampton) at 17 Pisces, these points forming a Yod, or Finger of Destiny, with inconjuncts to transit Saturn (government officials) at 11 Libra. Asteroid Hampton (#16255) at 7 Capricorn is exactly conjunct Pluto (devastation, destruction, power and control issues) and squared to Uranus (shocks, revelations) at 2 Aries.
Born 25 March 1958, John Ensign sports Nessus at 21 Taurus, in semisquare to the 4 Aries Sun, and at the apex of a loose Yod formed with natal Saturn (restriction, limitation, loss, government service) at 25 Sagittarius and Jupiter (politics, infidelity) at 29 Libra. Ensign’s Sun is conjoined by asteroid Wiener at 9 Aries, indicating over-identification with sexual urges, while Mars at 6 Aquarius opposes Uranus at 7 Leo, suggesting uncontrolled, volatile sexual energies and unorthodox behaviors, and is exactly trine natal asteroid Pecker at 6 Gemini.
At his resignation, transit Jupiter/Eris was exactly conjunct natal Mercury (news, the media) at 22 Aries, with transit Dick and Mars within orb of natal asteroid Douglas at 26 Aries. Transit Uranus was approaching its summer station retrograde exactly conjunct Ensign’s 4 Aries Sun, and transit Chiron (wounds, maverick behaviors) at 4 Pisces was conjoined Ensign’s natal asteroid Cynthia at 5 Pisces, natally squared to Pecker. The upcoming July 1st Solar Eclipse at 9 Cancer falls exactly on Ensign’s natal asteroid Hampton.
A month later, it was John Edwards’ turn to pay for past behavior. On June 3 the former North Carolina Senator, Vice Presidential nominee and presidential candidate was indicted on charges of misuse of campaign finances in connection with his mistress and their daughter.
Edwards met Rielle Hunter, a documentary film-maker, in early 2006, when he was mooting a second presidential run. She produced several online “webisodes” for him, pre-announcement PR films highlighting Edwards’ views and accomplishments, during that summer and fall. Their affair had begun by the time he formally announced his candidacy in late December 2006, and continued throughout his campaign and her pregnancy, until after the birth of their daughter in February 2008, at the height of the Democratic primary season.
In October 2007 The National Enquirer published reports that Edwards had had an affair with a staffer, but named no names. After Edwards denied the allegations, the Enquirer printed a photo of a visibly pregnant Hunter in December. Hunter was removed to California where she was set up in residence with Andrew Young, a former Edwards staffer, and his wife; Young claimed paternity after Hunter’s daughter was born.
Tabloids continued to run with the story, until in August 2008, after the primary race was over and Edwards knew he had not been chosen as Obama’s running mate, he finally admitted the affair, but still denied paternity of Hunter’s daughter. By August 2009, the origin of the funds used to support Hunter and the child had come into question, with a grand jury investigating Edwards’ campaign finances.
In January 2010, Andrew Young released a memoir of the Edwards campaign, and attributed paternity of Hunter’s child to Edwards, which he confirmed on the 21st. The grand jury investigation continued, scouring virtually every corner of Edwards’ public life, until in June 2011, he was indicted on 6 counts in USA v Johnny Reid Edwards, including one count of conspiracy, four counts of illegal campaign contributions, and one count of making false statements to federal investigators, related to the misuse of nearly $1 million in contributions to keep his mistress and child out of the public eye during the height of the campaign.
When the indictment was handed down June 3, transit Nessus had just turned retrograde the weekend before, and from 23 Aquarius was squared to transit Venus, representing both the affair itself and the financial aspect of the case, at 22 Taurus. Asteroid Johannes (#9300, for John Edwards) was exactly conjoined Nessus, with asteroid Dick at 4 Taurus exactly conjunct Edwards’ natal Venus and also conjoined transit Jupiter (ruling politicians) at 29 Aries; asteroid Wiener at 9 Gemini conjunct the Sun at 12 Gemini and asteroid Hunten (#9122, for Hunter); and asteroid Pecker at 0 Gemini conjunct Mercury (news, the media) at 1 Gemini, which was also exactly on Edwards’ natal asteroid Child. Transit asteroids Johanna, Johnny (#s 127 and 3252, both variants of John) and Hunt (#23041, also for Hunter) are clumped at 11, 14 and 17 Leo respectively, squared by transit Mars at 17 Taurus which was itself exactly conjunct Edwards’ natal Nessus.
Born 10 June 1953, that natal Nessus at 17 Taurus exactly conjoins asteroid Lie, in trine to a combination of asteroids Nemesis, Chiron and Lust (retribution, undoing and wounding via maverick and uncontrolled sexual urges) at 18, 19 and 21 Capricorn, which in turn opposes natal Uranus (shocking, erratic behavior) at 16 Cancer. Nemesis/Chiron/Lust forms a tight T-Square with asteroid Huntress (#7225, another stand-in for Hunter) at 21 Aries, currently conjoined by transit Eris (strife, discord); and a natal Saturn (presidency, government officials)/Neptune (deception, disillusionment) conjunction at 20 and 21 Libra.
Edwards’ natal Sun at 19 Gemini was about to be hit in opposition by the June 15 Lunar Eclipse at 24 Sagittarius, and was closely conjoined by transit asteroid Huntress at 17 Gemini when the indictment was handed down. Natally the Sun is squared by a combination of asteroids Pecker and Dick at 16 and 20 Pisces. Transit asteroid Riehl (#16189, for Rielle) at 5 Virgo had just been squared two days previously by the Solar Eclipse at 9 Gemini, falling exactly on asteroid Wiener for the indictment; natal Riehl is exactly squared natal Nessus from 17 Aquarius and exactly opposes asteroid Hunt for the indictment.
Nessus’ involvement in prominent sex scandals of men behaving badly is not limited to May 2011. Bill Clinton’s leadership in this field cannot be questioned; born 19 August 1946, Clinton has Nessus natally at 9 Taurus, opposed asteroid Dick at 8 Scorpio, inconjunct Mars and Venus at 6 and 11 Libra, trine asteroid Pecker at 15 Capricorn, and squared Saturn at 2 Leo.
Eliot Spitzer (born 10 June 1959), former New York Governor who resigned in 2008 after his involvement with high-priced call girls was exposed, has natal Nessus at 25 Taurus, opposed Jupiter at 24 Scorpio, squared Lust at 18 Aquarius, exactly sesquiquadrate Pecker at 10 Libra, and semisquare Wiener at 7 Cancer.
Jim McGreevey (born 6 August 1957), former New Jersey Governor who resigned in 2004 after revealing that he was gay and had had an affair with a male staffer, has natal Nessus at 24 Taurus involved in a T-Square, conjunct Pecker at 28 Taurus, squared Mars/Pluto at 28/29 Leo, and squared Wiener at 28 Aquarius, also trine Jupiter at 29 Virgo.
Mark Foley (born 8 September 1954), a US congressman who resigned his seat in 2006 after admitting that he was gay and had sent suggestive emails and phone messages to underage male congressional pages, has natal Nessus at 19 Taurus, trine the Sun at 15 Virgo, squared Pluto at 25 Leo, semisquare Pecker at 2 Cancer and sesquiquadrate Mars at 5 Capricorn.
Larry Craig (born 20 July 1945), the former Idaho Senator arrested in 2007 for soliciting sex from a plainclothes policeman in a public restroom, has natal Nessus at 8 Taurus, squared Pluto/Weiner at 9/10 Leo, exactly sextile Lust at 8 Cancer and exactly sesquiquadrate Jupiter at 23 Virgo, and trine Dick at 6 Virgo.
And David Vitter (born 3 May 1961), the current Louisiana Senator caught up in the “DC Madam” prostitution scandal in 2007, has natal Nessus at 27 Taurus, conjunct Pecker at 0 Gemini, trine Saturn at 29 Capricorn, exactly semisquare Venus at 12 Aries, squared Uranus at 21 Leo and Pluto at 5 Virgo, and sextile Mars at 28 Cancer.
Clearly, Nessus is a presence to be reckoned with, and an agent provocateur for those men behaving badly.