by Alex Miller-Mignone
Its a tough row to hoe, being John Edwards in 2007. The telegenic, populist candidates campaign has taken two successive body blows he probably never saw coming - first, the unexpected emergence of rival Senator Barack Obama, who jettisoned Edwards from his anticipated seat as the anti-Hillary candidate; and second, the re-emergence of wife Elizabeths cancer, with its possible fund-raising ramifications and inevitable personal toll.
Born in Seneca, South Carolina on 10 June 1953, Edwards comes from extremely modest roots. His father was a mill worker and his mother a mail carrier. The family moved several times in Edwards childhood, eventually settling in Robbins, North Carolina. The first member of his family to attend college, Edwards is a graduate of North Carolina State University with a bachelors degree in textile technology, which he followed with a law degree from the University of North Carolina. It was at the latter school where he met fellow student Elizabeth Anania, four years his senior. Married in 1977, the couple have four children, Wade, born 1979, who was killed in a car accident at age 16, Cate, born 1982, and Emma and Jack, born in 1998 and 2000, after Wades death.
The Edwards first set up shop in Nashville, where John became known as a successful trial lawyer, defending primarily corporate clients. After the family relocated to Raleigh, North Carolina, just before the birth of Cate, Edwards moved into personal injury cases, garnering a fortune estimated variously at between $12 and $60 million. He quickly gained a reputation as an effective and formidable attorney, his most famous case involving a product liability suit in 1997 against the manufacturer of a defective pool drain which had disemboweled a young girl. The company settled for $25 million while the jury in the case was in deliberation for damages.
With the death of his son Wade, whom Edwards had expected to follow him into a law career, in 1996, John turned his focus to politics. His upset win over North Carolinas incumbent Republican Senator Lauch Faircloth by 51-47% in 1998 sent the Edwards to Washington. In his single six-year term, Edwards co-sponsored 203 bills, including the Iraq War Resolution, and was responsible for deposing Monica Lewinsky during Clintons Senate impeachment trial. He was on Al Gores short list of running mates in 2000, the incumbent VP eventually choosing Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman. Also in November of that year, People magazine voted him the sexiest politician alive.
Edwards political ambition was palpable. Beginning in early 2001 he cadged invitations to speak in Iowa, site of the nations earliest caucus, with an eye to 2004. On 3 January 2003 he established a presidential exploratory committee, finally announcing his candidacy formally on 15 September 2003 on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. His first quarter fund-raising take for 2003 was $7 million, putting him well out in front for that election cycle, but a figure which pales beside the recent $26 and $25 million amassed by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Tagged as a populist, Edwards stump speeches inveighing against the Two Americas, split between the privileged and the common man, garnered him enthusiastic support nationwide, but his relative inexperience and lack of party connections worked against him. He finished a surprising second to John Kerry in the Iowa caucus, well ahead of former frontrunner Howard Dean. In successive contests, however, he won only his birth state of South Carolina and resident state of North Carolina, finishing second in most primaries after Deans withdrawal from the race. Edwards ended his campaign after disappointing finishes in March 3rds Super Tuesday races, but his political fortunes were given new life when John Kerry picked him as his running mate on 6 July 2004.
The Kerry/Edwards team was marginally ahead of Bush/Cheney throughout most of that summer and autumn, with an expected victory margin of 3% by Election Day, but e-vote fraud nationwide, and particularly in the battleground state of Ohio, gave the incumbents the win. In his concession speech, Edwards opined, You can be disappointed, but you cannot walk away. This fight has just begun. A second front in that war was about to open, when Elizabeth Edwards was diagnosed with breast cancer on the day after the election. More than any other spouse of the current candidates of either party (with the obvious and unique exception of Bill Clinton), Elizabeth is a potent force in her own right, a comfortable, seemingly sensible, semi-tragic figure with a high public profile nationally.
After the election, the Edwards retired to their 102-acre estate in Orange County, North Carolina while Elizabeth focused on her treatment, which successfully forced her cancer into remission. John became director of the University of North Carolinas Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity in February 2005. Edwards maintained email contact with former supporters, opposing the nominations of John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the US Supreme Court. A summer of speaking engagements for unions and minority groups in early primary states followed, and that November Edwards was the first to formally renounce his vote in favor of the Iraq War in 2002.
On 2 January 2007 Edwards announced his candidacy for the presidency in 2008, with the campaign slogan, Tomorrow begins today. The main thrusts of his campaign are combating global warming, eliminating poverty, and establishing universal health care. In 2004 Edwards opposed same sex marriage, but also opposed a Constitutional Amendment to ban it; he has now moved incrementally to support gay rights by coming down in favor of civil unions and partnership benefits for same sex couples.
On 22 March 2007 John and Elizabeth Edwards held a press conference to announce the return of her cancer, which was now asymptomatic but had emerged in her rib, a much more difficult form of cancer to treat. The disease is in its earliest stages, and although it is incurable, it can be managed for an extended period. The Edwards announced that The campaign goes on strongly, but speculation about Elizabeths health and the distracting or disabling effect that may have on the campaign continues. Ten days later the campaign announced first quarter fund-raising totals of $14 million, twice that for the same stage of his 2004 campaign, but the vast majority of that money was raised before the announcement of Elizabeths cancer. Edwards is consistently running third behind Clinton and Obama in national polls, but he comes in second in many local polls in early primary states, and recently emerged first in an Iowa poll.
John Edwards birth chart has several significant galactic contacts. The Sun at 19 Gemini closely opposes the Black Hole at 18 Sagittarius, indicating one who attracts others into his orbit almost effortlessly, for good or for ill. Magnetic and compelling, Black Hole Sun natives can also be mysterious and secretive, difficult to truly know. There can be a chameleon-like quality to these individuals, who adapt to their audience, becoming all things to all people. This is a useful skill for a trial lawyer, who must evoke compassion and support from a jury, and says much about Edwards success in this field.
That success was dramatically assisted by Edwards natal Mercury, which at 7 Cancer is conjoined both a Black Hole at 4 and a Quasar at 8 Cancer. The Black Hole contact shows Edwards as a deep thinker, a persuasive and powerful communicator, able to influence others opinions and decisions. Some Black Hole Mercury individuals have a difficult time being heard, as if their message is trapped within the confines of the Black Holes supergravity, but Edwards Quasar contact ameliorates this tendency considerably. Mercury allied to Quasar energies allows the native to stand out and express himself forcefully; indeed, his pronouncements are virtually impossible to ignore. Excellent for networking and communicating ones thoughts in a cogent and convincing manner, Mercury/Quasar folks tend to be viewed as Oracles of Truth; their tongues can be the making of them, and such is the case with Edwards legal career. In the product liability case cited above, Edwards addressed the jury in his closing for over ninety minutes without referencing his notes; it was termed the most impressive legal performance I have ever seen by the editor of the North Carolina Lawyers Weekly.
From 19 Gemini the Sun is also exactly inconjunct Chiron retrograde atop the Black Hole at 19 Capricorn; Edwards is clearly a wounded individual, with the loss of his son and his wifes illness. But he also has the capacity to absorb and deflect others pain, and the aspect highlights the importance of health care issues for his political platform. He functions well as a guide or mentor figure, and much of his work with poor or underprivileged people stems from this linkage.
Venus at 4 Taurus is exactly conjoined one Quasar and opposed another, as well as square the Black Hole at 2 Leo. The financially acquisitive tendencies of Venus/Quasar are strongly in evidence, both in the amassing of his personal fortune and his ability to attract financial support for his campaign. The combination also speaks to his relationship with Elizabeth, which appears to be a love match based on a solid foundation of affection and mutual respect. This is as well, for the contrary tendencies of Venus linked to Black Hole energies, allied with Mars also on a Quasar and opposed the supermassive Black Hole at the Galactic Center, provide a powerful incentive to stray. Edwards boyish good looks and striking attractiveness surely hold an appeal for potential partners, but there has never been a whiff of scandal, and with the Mars contact to the high profile Galactic Center, any extramarital affairs would likely become public knowledge.
Mars/Quasar itself is indicative of a vibrant, buoyant temperament, a robust and vigorous constitution and an energetic, physically active lifestyle. The sexual aura is very prominent, no doubt a major contributing factor to Edwards having been named as the sexiest politician alive. Mars/Quasar also tends to extreme self confidence, a sense that anything is possible if one applies oneself to the task, and such application comes naturally to these individuals.
Jupiter at 7 Gemini is conjoined the Maser at 6 Gemini and squared the Black Hole at 6 Virgo. There may be something controversial or adversarial in Edwards philosophy, and this is borne out in his standard Two Americas theme, which points up the divisions in the nation based on wealth and the access it creates.
Saturn at 20 Libra is trine the Sun and tightly squared the Chiron/Black Hole combination at 19 Capricorn. Edwards personality finds a natural ally and outlet in his career, which is itself a highly transformative factor in his life, requiring much of his focus and energies. The square to Chiron implies that working on behalf of others is favored, and this squares well with Edwards chief successes, as a trial lawyer in personal injury cases, as well as the generally populist tenor of his political career, and his focus on uplifting the poor. Advocacy for the disadvantaged or those harmed in some way is a natural outlet for this linkage. Saturn also conjoins Neptune at 21 Libra, a two-edged sword which could cut either way, as a style of spiritual and inspirational leadership, or as ineffectual and confused direction. Given the general tenor of the rest of the horoscope, the former seems more likely, but indecision at a critical juncture could be an issue in his presidency.
This Saturn/Neptune conjunction is also squared to Uranus at 16 Cancer and sextile Pluto at 21 Leo, injecting a sense of urgency and rebelliousness into his career life, as well as a degree of self-empowerment and the ability to act as a catalyst for change, a natural gift for assisting others in transition or crisis.
Edwards endured a passage of transit Pluto opposed his natal Sun during the 2004 campaign, including a direct station that August in exact opposition; this seemingly brought him into the forefront and offered an increase in power which was never realized to its fullest, but gave Edwards a nationally recognized countenance and an ongoing podium. This time around Saturn has been criss-crossing his natal Pluto in these early stages, but will be well done with it before the first votes are cast. If Edwards hasnt broken through the din of the Clinton/Obama contest by early June, when this transit is last exact, he probably wont. Later that month Uranus comes to station squared his Sun, and that may foreshadow a major turning point for the campaign, perhaps a sudden withdrawal.
Transit Pluto continues its opposition to natal Mars, a situation which may make for some heavy weather in the Edwards campaign. Under this transit Edwards relationship with vital energy and how he processes it is being scrutinized, and the changes wrought by Pluto here will have implications for how he expresses anger and aggression, his energy level for physical activity, and his sexuality. The final of three exact oppositions will occur this November, but Plutos station direct of September 2008 is just one degree off.
Also ongoing is Neptunes opposition to Edwards natal Pluto, with all the fits and starts this transit can imply. Is an increase in power just a will-o-the-wisp for Edwards? Will Plutos natal potential be clarified or dissolved by Neptune? It may also be difficult to get up a full head of steam with that pairing, and its effects continue literally through Election Day 2008, with a direct station of Neptune in exact opposition to natal Pluto just two days prior. Will Edwards become the most powerful man in the world? Prestidigitator Neptune says, now you see it, now you dont.
Alex Miller-Mignone is a professional writer and astrologer, author of The Black Hole Book and The Urban Wicca, former editor of "The Galactic Calendar," and past president of The Philadelphia Astrological Society.
His pioneering work with Black Holes in astrological interpretation began in 1991, when his progressed Sun unwittingly fell into one. Alex can be reached for comment or services at Alixilamirorim@aol.com.