John F. Kennedy (JFK)

John Fitzgerald Kennedy (JFK): U.S. President
(1917-1963) May 29, 1917, Brookline, Massachusetts, 3:00-3:15 PM, EST. Died, November 22, 1963, Dallas Texas.

(Ascendant, Libra; MC, Cancer with Saturn conjunct MC; Sun and Venus in Gemini; Moon in Virgo; Mercury, Mars and Jupiter conjunct in Taurus; Uranus in Aquarius; Neptune in Leo conjunct Saturn in Cancer; Pluto in Cancer)

WH/HO PortraitFew American presidents have captured the fascination of the world as did John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Forty years after his death, it is still hard to view his life and presidency objectively, and a kind of “mystique” (some would call it “glamor”) clings to his name. Perhaps glamorous Neptune in Leo (the sign of charisma and the heart) so elevated in the natal chart (conjunct the MC) contributes greatly to the optimism, uplifted vision and wistfulness which the name “”President Kennedy”” still awakens.

Positively, John Kennedy was known for his charisma, his brilliance and facile wit, his social idealism, courage and even heroism. On the more negative side (as the contrasts in the Gemini character are often great) he was possessed by an unrelenting ambition, opportunism, and a careless morality leading to flagrant relationships with numerous women and reputed links to notorious underworld figures. It is hard to conceive of a more colorful political figure. He was widely loved and admired (an immensely popular world-figure rather than simply an American president). Neptune threw a rosy veil over the actualities of his presidency, and offered, instead, the evocative and inspiring image of “Camelot” reborn—the Arthurian Romance transplanted to the White House. Supportive Jupiter in Taurus is also in harmonious sextile relationship with the MC (his career and reputation), enhancing his public image. As well, fortunate Jupiter is exactly conjuncted to the Vertex (point of fate), giving the needed “lift” and luck which so often came to his aid in adverse circumstances.

Kennedy’s prominent rays seem very much the first, second, fourth and sixth. The popularity of any political figure is promoted by the combination of the first and second rays. There is good reason to argue (based on his indisputable and often unsuspected courage) that his soul was focussed upon the first ray of Will and Power, and that his charming personality was to be found on the second ray. Surely his driving ambition and global breadth of thought are indications of a high first ray. In the estimation of the author, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt had this same soul/personality combination.

The constellations transmitting the first ray are not, however, strongly represented in his chart; only Leo is tenanted by Neptune—a planet more associated with the idealism of the sixth ray and the love of the second. Aries and Capricorn have no planets. However, Mars, the orthodox ruler of Aries is found in Taurus, esoterically ruled by first ray Vulcan, and Saturn, the exoteric and esoteric ruler of Capricorn is very powerfully conjunct with the MC—within ten minutes of arc (using the 3:15 PM time). Not only does Saturn convey the first ray aspect of Capricorn (and the third and seventh ray aspects as well), but it has, of itself, a powerful first ray component. The esoteric chart ruler, Uranus, is in its own (revolutionary) sign Aquarius and square to the stellium in Taurus (Mars included). The first ray component of both Mars and Uranus is emphasized by this square. Mercury is the orthodox ruler of Gemini and is found in Vulcan-ruled Taurus, exactly square to Uranus. First ray Pluto, the planet of death and regeneration, is also elevated and powerful—conjuncting the South Node, and in close parallel to the Vertex. There are, therefore, adequate conduits for the presumed first ray soul, and some of them are quite prominent in the chart (Saturn, Mars, Pluto and Uranus).

The second ray is well represented in the chart. Second ray Gemini holds the Sun and Venus (both ‘planets’ being astrological influences conveying the second ray), and the Moon is found in second ray Virgo conjunct the asteroid of nurturance, Ceres, with its own strong second ray component. While the Sun and Venus are only conjuncted in the broadest sense (nine degrees) together they contribute to Kennedy’s tremendous personal magnetism and appeal. Gemini is considered a sign associated with youth, youthfulness and young people; Kennedy (though in distressing physical pain, according to his brother “Bobby”, for perhaps half the days of his life {pain-inducing Chiron in the extraordinarily karmic 30th degree of Pisces) projected a remarkably youthful vitality (everywhere emphasizing physical fitness) and his appeal to the younger generation was immense.

Venus in Gemini, the orthodox ruler of the Libran Ascendant to which it is trine, contributed to JFK’s great sex-appeal (Venus trine Uranus), his promiscuity (alluring Venus in Gemini, the sign of variety)  and, in general, to his popularity with women (Venus). An important ‘charismatic triangle’ is the grand trine between the Libra Ascendant, Uranus and Venus (the esoteric and exoteric rulers of Gemini respectively). This triangle conferred upon JFK a kind of electrifying appeal and make him, to many, irresistible.  From a deeper and esoteric perspective, it made him a great exponent of union and unity—whether interpersonally (and sexually), socially or globally. His was an extremely attractive man with the power to bring people together, and this power of attraction lived on (and still lives) after his death.

Esoterically, the Venus/Gemini position is related to the use of the Antahkarana. Gemini is the esoteric ruler of Gemini and both are connected to the building and use of the “Bridge of Light”. Magnetic Venus draws the two poles together, and Gemini symbolizes the communication of these poles.  It seems that JFK was never at a loss for inspiration (especially verbal) and that his greatest ideas, such as the Peace Corps, the Alliance for Progress, extensive civil rights legislation, and the Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty, were all part of a process of easing national and world tensions (Libra).

It seems likely that Kennedy’s brilliant mind was upon the colorful fourth ray, accounting for both his sparkling eloquence and ready wit. Mercury is placed in fourth ray Taurus, which could seem to slow the mind, but such was not the case, as Mercury was conjunct to both activating Mars and comprehensive Jupiter—all these square to inspirational, electric Uranus (in its own electrifying sign—Aquarius). The power, scope and assertiveness of Kennedy’s thought are to be seen in this triple conjunction—its square to galvanic Uranus and its harmonizing trine to the critical and astute Virgo Moon. His power to debate (Mars conjunct Mercury) and to win, (successful Jupiter conjunct both Mars and Mercury), are shown in this Taurus stellium, indicating the incisiveness, power and breadth of his mind. Like Alice Bailey (another individual with a Gemini Sun sign) he was said to be able to read at a phenomenally rapid rate, a page at a time, at speeds reported to be upwards of fifteen hundred words per minute). In such skills, one recognizes the Geminian abilities and also the results of the stellium here discussed. His success as an author (Sun and Venus in Gemini, Jupiter conjunct Mercury) is notable: Profiles in Courage (Mars conjunct Mercury) for which he was awarded the 1957 Pulitzer Prize and Why England Slept.

Kennedy’s idealism cannot be denied (though balanced by a fair measure of political realism and opportunism—Saturn conjunct the MC, and Libra Rising). The two planets conveying the sixth ray (Mars and Neptune) are in quintile relationship (blending intelligence and originality with the idealism), and communicative Mercury is part of this quintile. The result is the passionate and intelligent expression of idealism. If there is any ray to rival the first ray for the rulership of the soul, it would be the idealistic sixth ray. Surely, he was, at heart,  a political idealist.

The Libran Ascendant represents the energy which, properly used, lead towards the expression of the soul. Libra contributed to JFK’s great popularity—globally, socially, and privately. It gave him charm, grace, and a beautiful image; he was in the eyes of many, a handsome man (a quality which the Venus-ruled Libra Ascendant) can often confer. On a deeper level, when one thinks of the Peace Corps (so revolutionary an idea at the time—Uranus {revolution} trine both Venus and the Libra Ascendant) one must realize the profoundly Libran nature of this initiative. With its inception arose the concept of “waging peace”. Here we can see the combined influence of Libra and the sixth ray (supported by the second and first).

It is difficult (and, perhaps, even inadvisable) to speculate about such matters, but it may be that Kennedy’s monadic ray (like Lincoln’s {speculatively}) was the second. It seemed to be his underlying “mission” to unite the American people in support of its highest ideals, to remove the tarnish from the practice of government, and re-emphasize the soul-principles upon which the American nation was founded. Of course his own personal, private life was often lived in contradistinction to these ideas (as dualistic Gemini might suggest), but it cannot be denied that he elevated the vision of both America and the world. In his own character, the contrast between the ideal and the actual was stark, but those who loved him appreciated the opportunity to think about their leader and their own possibilities in more beautiful and cultured terms, and this, JFK and his wife, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, made possible.

It is amazing that only after his death did word of his sexual escapades begin to reach the public. And even with this revelation, his image, somehow, is protected. Of course Libra is associated with “unbalanced fiery passion, human love”, and JFK’s eighth house (sex and death, among other things) is very full—especially with Taurean planets (Taurus being one of the primary sexual signs and closely related to the desires of the instinctual nature). (William Clinton has a Libran Ascendant and a Taurus Moon.) Also, Pluto (raising to light the ‘sins’ of the lower worlds) is closely conjunct JFK’s South Node (hence his reputed “underworld” connections, and his many liaisons which had to be hidden by the Secret Service). The quite close trine between affiliative Venus in the sign of diversity, Gemini, and Juno, the asteroid of marriage and relationship in Aquarius (indicating ‘marriage’ to many or to the group), certainly heightened his promiscuity. A personality upon the second ray (the glamor of which is, so often, “the love of being loved” would only add to the tendency).

One asteroid (Vesta) and one planetoid, (Chiron) also tell a most interesting story. They are placed late in the sixth ray/second ray sign, Pisces, adding to the idealism and highly stimulated love-nature already emphasized. Chiron is the planet of pain and healing, and is placed in the highly karmic last degree of Pisces, and also closely conjunct to the still-Piscean cusp (by Placidus) of the sixth house of sickness and health. Was JFK (as a soul, though probably unconsciously) taking upon himself a burden of collective karma, for the last degree of Pisces is the most collectively synthetic degree of the zodiac? The close proximity of Vesta (the asteroid of commitment, and also in Pisces) to Chiron, tells of his devotion to the cause of healing (as healing can be administered via the political process). His many proposed social welfare programs, and proposed civil rights legislation stem from this motivation. Although the scion of a wealthy family, and born to hereditary financial privilege (Jupiter in Taurus in the eighth house of inheritance and legacies), he, nevertheless, was a would-be champion (Vesta/Chiron) of those less fortunate than himself (Pisces planets in relation to the sixth house of “servants”). In this, he shared certain characteristics with Franklin Delano Roosevelt, also a member of the East-Coast upper class and also animated by the desire to raise the lot of those of lesser social standing.

A great deal of family karma is indicated by the elevated and karmic Saturn in its “detriment” position in Cancer, conjunct the MC. Capricorn, of which Saturn is twice the ruler, is the sign archetypally associated with the “father” and Cancer with the “mother”. The great ambitions of patriarch Joseph Kennedy for this family were absorbed and enacted by JFK; after the death of his brother, Joe, his father’s expectations fell upon him, and he lived out that expectation through a drive for political prominence. His mother, Rose Kennedy, was said to be “distant” (Saturn, the planet of separation in the Cancer, the sign of material intimacy). His father was virtually absent from his childhood. These two conditions (both characteristic of his prominent Saturn) set the stage for JFK’s determination to rise politically and, in general, for his will to prove himself, not only in the pursuit of political power but in pursuit and conquest of women.

Yet another karmic indicator is the as-yet-undiscovered planet Sigma (which some call the “esoteric Saturn”). In JFK’s chart it is located in nine (plus) degrees of Gemini quite close to his Gemini Sun. The Elevated Saturn and Sigma so prominent, along with Chiron in the last degree of Pisces, shows his life as one of ‘karmic reaping’, and sacrificial to an important extent. To what degree this sacrificial quality was conscious may be debated.

Esoterically, Saturn is the planet of opportunity, especially disciplic opportunity—achieved often through pain.

“”The power of Saturn in this sign furthers the ends and purposes of the governing energies or rays of harmony through conflicts (the Moon and Mercury) and of Neptune, for in this sign Saturn is in the home of its detriment and thus produces those difficult conditions and situations which will lead to the needed struggle. This makes Cancer a place of symbolic imprisonment and emphasises the pains and penalties of wrong orientation. It is the conflict of the soul with its environment—consciously or unconsciously carried on—which leads to the penalties of incarnation and which provides those conditions of suffering which the soul has willingly undertaken when—with open eyes and clear vision—the soul chose the path of earth life with all its consequent sacrifices and pains, in order to salvage the lives with which it had an affinity.”” (EA 342)

Physical pain (through his back problems, caused by an injury during this teens—Uranus square Mars/Mercury, and Addison’s Disease with its suppression of his adrenal function) was his constant companion—his symbolic “cross to bear”. Additionally, he carried the psychological burden (Saturn) of his family dynamics and upbringing (Cancer) throughout his life, and this influenced much of his approach to his public career (MC). Viewed from this angle, his great drive towards political success was, partially, at least, the result of compensation, though naturally, its deeper roots were to be found in the will of his soul.

Certainly, in JFK’s life, the “pains and penalties of wrong orientation” were prominent. The pains (both physical and psychological), though well hidden by his brilliantly charming manner, were constant. As well, many will look at his dramatic death as evidence of the penalties exacted because of wrong orientation. Two conspiracy theories concerning his death place the blame upon the Mafia (with some members of which he reputedly had inappropriate relations) or upon the Cuban Government (angered by the ill-advised and abortive Bay of Pigs Invasion). John F. Kennedy, was clearly a disciple (albeit with some major personal flaws); in the life of a disciple, penalties for such flaws are exacted rather rapidly, especially on that part of the path of discipleship which is also  the path of initiation.

Some of the declinations are also of interest. There is quite a close parallel between Saturn and the Sun on one side and Saturn and the MC on the other, emphasizing again, responsibility, karma, ambition, and the pressure exerted by the father and family tradition (Saturn as pressure, and Cancer as family tradition). An elevated Saturn often indicates a rise to (and fall from) political power. Hitler also had such a prominent Saturn (though his character and motivations were entirely different from JFK’s). Parallels and contra-parallels of declination act similarly to conjunctions and oppositions respectively, and must be considered along with longitudinal aspects.

As well we see a very close parallel between Pluto (planet of death, sex, regeneration, the negative forces and the raising of all that is hidden) and the Vertex (the point of fate). This reinforces the longitudinal conjunction of Pluto with the South Node, and tells of JFK’s fated confrontation with the forces of negativity—whether in society or within his own nature. Perhaps, as well, it tells of his ‘appointment’ with assassination.

One other connection by declination is of note—the close contra-parallel between Uranus and Mercury, which are already very closely in square by longitudinal aspect. The originality and surprising brilliance of the mind are thereby emphasized, and his impact as a communicator with the power to awaken thought.

His ambitious, expansive Mars/Jupiter longitudinal conjunction is reinforces by a parallel between the two, to which Ceres adds its power to nurture and cultivate. Taurus is a sign of great desire, and the presence of Mars and Jupiter conjuncted in Taurus (and reinforced by parallel) strengthens and expands these desires. We can see if we look closely at JFK (both his character and physiognomy) the influence of Taurus, which contains Mercury, the orthodoxly ruling planet of his Gemini Sun). Gemini individuals are much influenced by the position of Mercury (a planet which easily takes on the coloring of the sign in which it is found). This Taurus position for Mercury would add a degree of assurance and even stubbornness to JFK’s mind, which he certainly demonstrated during the thirteen day stand-off with the Soviet Union over the presence of nuclear missiles in Cuba.

In the chart of so prominent an individual, the fixed stars could be expected to play a significant role, and, indeed, they do. The Sun in Gemini is conjuncted to Aldebaran, which might be called the ‘Star of Integrity’. Clearly JFK’s character was divided—idealistic, progressive and liberal in one way, yet arrogant, ambitious, careless and promiscuous in another. The public did not learn of his disintegrous behavior until after his death (and even then, it did not make much impact). But when one of the “Four Royal Stars” is conjunct the Sun, there is a life-lesson being offered; had he lived, the issue of integrity would have faced him squarely (just as it has faced William Clinton), and his downfall may have been a strong possibility (as Saturn conjunct the MC often indicates).

Venus (already implicated in his great sex-appeal) was closely parallel the star Hamal, associated with aggression, crudeness, brutishness, and, in some, even sadism. Certainly, it is a coarsening influence. It would strengthen the passions and make one determined to indulge the lower aspects of Venus. It would contribute to the headstrong recklessness within which JFK pursued women. Regardless of his political and social responsibilities he, in his love-life, acted in an independent and even arrogant manner. Venus, it should be noted, is also in the eighth house representing tests and vices to be overcome.

Along this same line, expansive Jupiter is exactly conjunct Capulus, the “sword of Perseus”, the star associated, according to Bernadette Brady, with libido and “male sexual energy”. This certainly added to what might be called the ‘zestful pursuit’ of his amorous adventures. The Vertex, as well, is conjunct Capulus, and, we remember, also parallel the planet Pluto. These both reinforce the role which compulsive sexual expression played in his life. This prominence of Capulus also added to JFK’s capability to display “macho” behavior—perhaps not to be expected in one with so much Libra and Gemini.

As well there is a close parallel of Saturn to Zosma, in the “back of the Lion”. Zosma is not a particularly felicitous star, indicating either the victim or the savior. Some accounts associate it with “selfishness, immorality and drug additions” (Larousse Encyclopedia of Astrology). It is well known that JFK (and Jacqueline) took frequent amphetamine injections to cope with the strain of their position. The factor of immorality is well known. Zosma may also be associated with the persecution of the feminine. Its conjunction with elevated Saturn again indicates the karmic themes of JFK’s life—his role as the “victim” of his heredity and family culture. In a way, he was sacrificed upon the altar of family expectation.

A very strong combination involving Spica, Arcturus and Zuben Elschamali connect with the Ascendant—Spica and Arcturus by longitudinal conjunction and Zuben Elschamali by parallel. Arcturus and Spica are two most felicitous stars. Spica confers brilliance. Brady tells us that “Spica represents the goddess’ gift of new knowledge and gives a potential for brilliance in any chart it touches”. It is considered extremely fortunate conferring happiness, preferment, honor and advancement. Arcturus is said to give the daring to strike out and take a new path, to try new methods, to take a road which has not been trodden. We can see both these stars at work in JFK’s life and presidency. His mind was fertile with new initiatives for social welfare and betterment, and he surprised many by his boldness and originality. Zuben Elschamali is considered a star of “social reform”, but often with negative consequences. Indeed, JFK was largely unsupported (by Congress and the Senate) in his desires for social reform, and his proposals had to wait for his death to be enacted under another administration.

The most dramatic life episode (of a number of dramatic episodes) was the manner of John Kennedy’s death—a sudden death by assassination. We are reminded of the deaths of Gandhi and of Martin Luther King—both prominent social reformers and both ‘removed’ suddenly by assassination. One wonders about the ‘staging’ arranged by the soul, perhaps for the sake of emphasizing the message of these great leaders. So it was for John Kennedy.

When we seek the manner of death we look to the eighth house, and we see violent Mars conjunct the eighth house cusp. Kennedy was shot, and Mars represents fire-arms. Mercury is there, as well, conjunct Mars, so a plan was involved, and interestingly, it occurred while JFK was traveling in a motorcade (Mercury). Mars and Mercury rule motorized vehicles. The suddenness of the death is indicated by Uranus (the planet of the sudden and unexpected) in square to both Mars and Mercury, and in square to the Vertex (point of fate) to which Pluto is parallel and Capulus conjuncted.

The validity of the astrology of fate is dramatically revealed by the solar eclipse of July 21, 1963 which occurs on the very degree of Kennedy’s karmic, elevated and highly prominent Saturn. Eclipses, which engineer the precipitation of events, are in effect for approximately six months after their occurrence, and so the date of assassination, November 22, 1963, was well within range. Some say eciplises become effective before the occurrence and some that their effect can last even a year. Kennedy’s dramatic assassination signaled the sudden end of his career. Indeed it was a karmic event of the highest order and in every respect the kind of “fall from power” long associated with an elevated Saturn. Saturn is the ruler of house four (of home and country) and conjuncts house ten of governments. Kennedy’s death was an international event, affecting multitudes and reaching personally into almost every home in the world and seriously affecting global stability (MC/IC axis).

When one is faced with the life of so prominent a disciple one seeks to understand the meaning of the life in terms of the soul. We might say that John Fitzgerald Kennedy presented America and the world with a new and higher idealism, and new vision. He enunciated a kind of selflessness which he exemplified in his higher moments (as when he was responsible for saving the lives of the men under his command when his PT-109 torpedo boat was destroyed), but to which standard many other aspects of his life did not conform. Yet his overall effect was profound and influential far beyond the measure of his personal behavior. He presented the America and the world with a vision of renewal (astrologically correlated with his elevated, inspired and inspiring Neptune, his prominent regenerative Pluto {in the ninth house of higher mind, vision and internationalism} and visionary Jupiter conjunct Vertex, Mercury and Mars). It can be said that he brought hope that a higher way of national and international life was, indeed, possible. Perhaps he was, as it were, ‘removed’, before this optimistic and uplifting vision of possibility could be too severely tarnished by word of those aspects of his character which did not live up to that vision.

Although in many ways he was a selfish and self-indulgent man, the legacy of JFK is somehow associated with selflessness, with thinking beyond the needs and concerns of the petty little self, of asking not “what your country can do for you” but “what you can do for your country”. Thus the idealism is clear, and the sixth ray important.

Had JFK’s ideals been fulfilled, there would have been a more civilized, cultured discourse between the members of society and between nations in general, and beautification of the environment would have advanced. He brought a new level of intelligence (Gemini) to the Presidency of the United States, and, apparently, a beacon of hope that the tawdriness of conventional politics could be transcended. Of course, he could be accused of hypocrisy (as is the fate of so many divided Gemini individuals). The life of his large soul and the tendencies of his often immature personality were two quite different things. The soul and its instrument Fate, however, arranged that despite his continuing indiscretions, he would have no choice (Saturn and Pluto) but to live out a purpose larger than his own, bringing a vision to the world of intelligent (Gemini) social justice (Libra) and right human relations in a more peaceful world.

Perhaps JFK’s visionary qualities are nowhere more potently symbolized than in his commitment in May 1961 to land a man on the Moon by the end of the decade. His prophetic commitment would prove correct but he would never live to see its fulfillment. So many of his visions (Neptune in the tenth house conjunct the MC) would only later materialize. We might think of his life as a king of annunciation of greater possibilities towards which not just America but humanity might strive.

We might think of his life in relation to his highly successful book, Profiles in Courage. Though he was weak as a child, and throughout his life had many physical and psychological liabilities to overcome (products of his proposed second ray personality), he knew how to rise to the occasion—whether in actual combat or when the world stood for thirteen days on the brink of nuclear war. Nikita Khrushchev, mislead by JFK’s charming and apparently pleasure-loving second ray personality, and the inoffensive signs Gemini and Libra, thought that he had taken the measure of the man, and so could attempt bold and aggressive moves internationally to compromise the United States in the “balance of terror” then prevailing. He had not, however, taken the measure of John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s first ray soul, which showed itself (when needed) in great fortitude and courage.

The tragedy (so it seems) is that JFK was cut down in his prime, before he could demonstrate his true promise and greatness. It could be argued, however, that decisive karma was at play (the solar eclipse on Saturn) and that the soul extracted the full measure of quality from his life in such as way as to enhance the inspiration of the vision he presented humanity.

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