The Feeding Frenzy
July 4, 1998 - No single incident in recent political history has been more entertaining, vexing or distracting than the bombshell dropped on the world by an Internet gossip in late January that President Clinton had supposedly been involved in a juicy affair with a White House intern and then had urged her to lie under oath in order to cover it up. Over the next week, as television news readers, reporters and analysts on the one hand spread wild, unsubstantiated rumor attributed to unspecified "sources," on the other hand, they gravely nodded their heads over talk of resignation or impeachment.
After a weeklong feeding frenzy by reporters in various media, as well as talking heads on cable TV, First Lady Hillary Clinton came on the Today show to defend her husband (who had previously denied any sexual contact with the intern, Monica Lewinsky), asking for everyone to step back, take a deep breath and wait for the time when the less than spectacular truth could emerge. At the same time, she attributed this and other unspecified matters to a "vast right-wing conspiracy." The next night, the President delivered his annual State of the Union message, and over the next few weeks, his approval ratings soared to levels higher than all but those for George Bush during the Gulf War with Iraq. Very soon, reporters passing along gossip of late-night trysts in the White House and talking of resignation were replaced by reporters agonizing over how badly the press had covered an emerging story.
From that point on, despite twists and turns here and there, the more negative aspects of the story began to tilt toward Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, with the public widely assuming he was motivated at least as much by politics as by the law. By the middle of June, five months later, such charges assumed a more concrete form when the first issue of a media magazine, Brill's Content, bannered a story called "Pressgate," detailing the relationship between Starr, the press and, as author Steven Brill would have it, two women in search of a book deal. Brill charged that the story, including many of the rumors, had been driven by Starr and his office, with the willing complicity of a scoop-hungry press. Furthermore, Brill stated flatly that he felt Starr had violated the law in his relations with the press, while Starr fired back an angry letter saying that the article "borders on the libelous."
As June came to a close, Starr worked on an immunity deal with Monica Lewinsky and readied the grand jury for the testimony of the "friend" who had taped her conversations and parlayed them into a major story (if Brill can be believed), Linda Tripp. Within a week, though, an Arkansas judge had released Susan McDougal, who had for many months accused Starr of asking her to lie about the President in return for freedom, while a judge in the nation's capital dropped tax charges against another potential witness who had made the same accusation. Still and all, from day to day the news changes, and while at this point public opinion is highly unfavorable toward Starr and generally favorable toward the President, no one really knows for sure what Starr's grand jury will do in the end. Thus, the situation remains highly volatile.
Some fascinating astrology seems to be driving this, the simplest aspect of which (literally) the reader can find in the graphic above. The scale on the left side of the graph represents the late degrees of cardinal signs and the early degrees of fixed signs. Why? Because Clinton, Lewinsky and Starr all have planets in that hot zone, an area currently under the interesting influence of Saturn and Neptune, as they move in and out of a square. For Starr, it is his nearly claustrophobic Sun-Saturn conjunction; for Clinton, Saturn; for Lewinsky, her Sun. On occasion I also will mention Starr's Moon, which is a few degrees past an exact square to his Sun-Saturn.
The strongest feature of this transit is the slow movement of Neptune over sensitive points of the birth charts of the three people in question. What is it likely to mean? Three features of Neptune are important here - imagination, introversion and perseverance. Natally, Neptune is often found prominent in the charts of people who have more or less standard Neptunian characteristics, such as artistic sensitivity, but one can also find it emphasized in people who show allegiance to a particular kind of moral integrity which they pursue with a vengeance that either puts them at odds with an established orthodoxy of one kind or another, or makes them the defenders of it.
As one example, consider Savonarola, with Neptune setting natally, or Oliver Cromwell or perhaps Maximilien Robespierre, each of whom had Neptune in the same place. Whatever the merits of their quests, each of these men committed himself to a course of zealously removing corruption from the political and social order. Savonarola took on the Church and the Medicis, Cromwell took on the Church and the Crown, Robespierre took on, yes, the Church, and those within the French Revolution whom he felt were a threat to it. A more modern and less strident example of natal Neptune setting was gay San Francisco politician Harvey Milk, though in Milk's case the fact that he came of political age in a place far-removed from his birth place, and the fact that he did not live long enough to get more than a foothold in the political scene bring in added complications.
However, a more interesting twist to this comes when one considers that Cromwell and Milk each had an adversary who had Neptune rising - Charles I for Cromwell, and Dan White for Milk. Cromwell defeated his and beheaded him, though the monarchy returned after his death, and his corpse was in fact hanged, the head stuck on a pole for public display and the body buried at the foot of the gallows. Milk was assassinated by his adversary, though White later killed himself. In the case of Robespierre and Savonarola, no data is available on those who might have opposed them, but the one lost his head and the other was excommunicated, hanged and then burned.
Though one might say that Neptune setting (or rising, for that matter) literally means that one will die a violent death in one form or another, this would, I think, be missing the point that the real problem in the cases of Cromwell, Robespierre, Savonarola, White and Charles I was the intensity of the passions which they themselves felt for their cause and which, in turn, they raised in others. Moreover, while each of the Neptune-Descendant people took a religious stance against the prevailing orthodoxy - puritanism, deism and, what? "Savonarolism?" - they themselves were the final, and at times, idiosyncractic, interpreters of the new orthodoxy, so to speak. Again, though other elements are involved in the case of Harvey Milk, the Milk-White case also involved a prevailing orthodoxy against an intended new order. On the other hand, while the Neptune-rising adversaries of Cromwell and White were more committed to an existing order of things, each enforced this in a way that was, again, more or less personal. White became an assassin to dispense justice and remove the corruption of an immoral rabble from his city, while Charles I championed his own divine right to rule and to form alliances with the very forces his adversaries were most opposed to.
In the case of Starr versus Clinton, the situation is slightly different, but certain elements of the situation outlined above still seem to be in play. Before getting to what these are, let's take a look at the transits involved, considering the difference between the way this heavy transit falls in relation to standard (tropical) and precession-corrected (sidereal) birth planets for the three:
Saturn-Neptune, within a degree of an exact square:
Neptune within a degree of opposition during 1998 to
Neptune within a degree of opposition during 1998 to precession-corrected
Though I don't want to minimize the impact of this year's events on Monica Lewinsky herself, I'll give first consideration to the political struggle between the two men she's caught between. No matter how the transits are looked at, Clinton's toughest period was from late March through early June, while Starr has had one difficult period (early January) and faces another (mid-September through November). Three difficult periods are evident for Lewinsky - February through March, mid-June through mid-August and, finally, December. Since Starr's Saturn is slightly ahead of Clinton's in the zodiac, as Neptune moves away from his Saturn it will begin to assault Clinton's a little more heavily, beginning early next year. However, as we'll see when we look at things from the standpoint of locality - which is, after all, the purpose of Astro*Carto*Graphy - those places in the world at which Starr's and Clinton's Saturns are most emphasized are likely to be the places at which the transit of Neptune to Saturn (sharpened by the accompanying square to Saturn) has its greatest effect. And despite the similarity of the transit in longitude, there are quite a few differences on the map.