I want to approach this Composite post in a different way than I have up to now. The 9th house is the last of the ‘relationship houses’ and therefore should, ideally, teach us something about relating in general.
Since the 9th is also a house of learning and teaching, I want to focus on some broader concepts that apply to more than one Composite chart, largely because the more time I spent analyzing my 9th house subjects and their charts, the more it became clear that there is much to be learned from some ‘universal’ issues they dealt with.
Hope is associated with the 9th house, and so my hope is that you’ll read this post first before you take on the Composite 9th house Sun.
Some of the issues we’ll be addressing (in addition to specific 9th house concerns):
- The meaning of the New Moon (in general and in the Composite chart)
- Infidelity and collusion with the infidel
- Partners’ (often unrealistic) expectations for each other: Saturn and Venus aspects are implicated
- The role of the Vertex/Anti-vertex, particularly when one person ‘falls in love’ but the other person does not
- Navigating extremely different natals and their role in understanding what the relationship as reflected by the Composite is about
- The role of certain Fixed stars and asteroids in relationships
- A tiny little bit about Venus representing your “love language”
Let’s start at the very beginning
A frequent question about the Composite chart is if the two people can be ‘seen’ in the chart; for example, does the Sun represent one person, the Moon the other?
[A caveat here is that applying gendered thinking about relationship roles—Sun = masculine or man, Moon= feminine or woman—which often devolve into extremely limiting stereotypes, is not something I recommend, especially in this era of gender fluidity. With clients, this conversation often revolves around ‘let’s define what you mean by masculine and feminine,’ but I digress.]
The best answer is no, that’s not how the Composite chart works. The Composite represents the blending of two people’s energies. I know this can be a difficult concept to wrap one’s head around, but if you want to see the two people separately, and their effect on each other, look to the Synastry.
However, one of the ways to determine what the two people bring to their Composite is to use the method of applying the ruler on the cusp of the natal house, in this case the 9th (and any planets therein) to the Composite.
This is why in all of these Composite analyses, I have used the pertinent natal house of both people to compare and contrast what innate abilities, expectations, and limitations, each might bring to the Composite chart.
Having said that, some relationships are just simply easier for one or the other person, which you can see in the natals when applied to the Composite.
Since the Composite chart is a mathematical construct, where one does the math of adding the degrees of the two natal charts together and then divides them by two, we’re always dealing with the ‘mean,’ or the middle ground where those two energies meet.
So a natal Gemini and a natal Cancer, once their degrees are added and divided, may very well end up with a Composite Gemini or Cancer Sun. Clearly, that will privilege one of the natives’ innate abilities over the other; the second party will have to adapt to meet the energy of the Composite Sun if this relationship is going to work out.
In Composites, therefore, there is no such thing as equal and fair; there’s adaptability and resilience or not, as the case may be.
For most readers, it won’t come as a surprise by now that you’ve had relationships with people who couldn’t handle the relationship energy; they were into you, but a relationship is the sum of two people, and sometimes one or both simply cannot sustain the requirements of the relationship as they are written in the chart.
If I’m a Scorpio Sun but the Composite Sun is Libra, for example, I’m going to have a lot of work to do to be in this relationship unless I have a Libra or Air sign-weighted chart.
When someone cannot adapt to the requirements of a relationship, their leaving usually looks like ‘rejection,’ when it has more to do with each person’s ability to be in this specific relationship. I know it’s hard, but some of the time at least, one should not take the end of a relationship so very personally.
When under the microscope, it might very well turn out that the person who rejected you represented a mixed blessing at best. S/he wasn’t ready, wasn’t capable of giving what you could give, etc.
This is to ‘explain’ the bleeding obvious, which is that one person is often in(to) the relationship in a way the other simply is not, and cannot be, given who and where they are at this point in time.
The requirements of how to keep the relationship going are more easily met by one person than the other, and not everyone is up to the effort required. There are plenty of people who don’t even know the reasons why relationships require work.
This is not to say that difficult relationships will not last, just that being realistic is key to relationship success. Accept that you might be the one doing most of the heavy lifting. Is this ‘fair’? Of course not.
A Key Word in Composites: Synthesis
‘Synthesis’ is a word I should have been applying all along when it comes to the Composite chart, because if there’s one concept I absorbed after reading Robert Hand’s Planets in Composite: Analyzing Human Relationships it is that the Composite chart is, to all intents and purposes, purely mathematical (and therefore delightfully theoretical) while at the same time the synthesis of two separate people’s numbers creates a whole new entity that did not exist before. Not a baby! A relationship, represented initially by the Composite Sun, and then expanded upon by the rest of the chart.
The idea of ‘synthesis’ has a particular meaning for Cadent and Mutable house relationships. Whereas it is difficult for Angular house relationships (1, 4, 7 and 10th houses) to let loose the reins of power (making interpersonal relationships a source of intense learning, not to mention irritation and power struggles), Cadent houses (3, 6, 9 and 12) are associated with Mutability, and therefore blend their energies a little more easily, or are supposed to, anyway.
Resistance to blending or synthesis is also found in the Succedent houses (2, 5, 8, 11). These houses are aligned with Fixed energy, which does not begin from a place of ‘Let’s do things your way!’
Eventually, though, everyone learns that adaptability is the key to fixing broken relationships.
If you’re not ‘evolved’ enough to want the best for the person you purport to love, sometimes the best you can do is lay down your implements of war and just say Yes Dear once in awhile.
The 9th house version of romance
The 9th house Composite relationship is great for hiking and philosophical talks and travel (of course) as well as friendships based on common interests.
This relationship might very well start while the two of you are in college, or seminary, or through something to do with religion or searching for a larger purpose in life (astrology!). Fun is not the point here; there has to be a larger purpose for the two of you to stay together. Ideally, the thing that bonds you is a shared dream.
Keywords for this relationship: Shared worldview, common interests. Higher purpose. Goals, aspirations. Always learning. Mutuality. Search for enlightenment. Nobility, honor. Fair fights. Taking the ‘high road.’ The overall message is compromise in the face of (often) unrealistic demands.
The 9th is a Cadent house, and the last of the ‘relationship’ houses prior to switching over into Cardinal-mode in the 10th and the beginning of the quadrant of the last three houses, which deal with how one interacts with the larger world.
Whereas the 7th, a Cardinal house, speaks to the struggle of adapting to another (or ‘the other’), the 9th’s adaptability comes ‘naturally.’ People with planets in the 9th will too often allow others to be flawed when in fact, they might change their behavior/s if you’d just say something.
Enabling weaknesses in others is always a risk in Mutable Cadent Composite houses (or with highly Mutable signs), because one or both people comes to this relationship looking for a way out (of taking responsibility, also known as ‘growing up’).
It’s the nature of the 9th house to keep an eye on the exit, but beware of forcing change (particularly change of mind) on the other person if your own issues remain unexamined. Freedom’s not just another word for nothing left to lose. Freedom is something the 9th assumes or permits the native or the Composite to expect, even when total freedom is not the right answer for humans, who are not, after all, wild animals (usually).
Most people require boundaries of some sort to bring out their higher, more philosophical nature. Limiting human excesses is an underlying rationale for formal marriage, by the way. Marriage is designed to keep your licentiousness under control.
As the last of the ‘relationship houses,’ the 9th bears fruit from lessons learned in the 7th and 8th houses. Because personal will runs high in the 7th, where learning how to share becomes the theme—versus the Succedent 8th, where blending of goals and intimacy are key—the 9th house relationship’s ability to compromise (or learn how to compromise) means that many of these relationships can endure in spite of the lack of compatibility between the two individuals. The outcome here is always going to boil down to radical acceptance of the other, which is based in humility and compromise.
Remember, the ethos of the 9th house is founded on spirituality and searching for a higher goal and purpose, and while that’s a lot to burden a romantic relationship with, it’s the best house for two people who share a common vision. These people aspire to be more than they were when they met, a noble goal indeed.
Companionate: This is the most common form of marriage among younger couples, according to Wallerstein [A link to her book is included above]. “It reflects the social changes of the last two decades. At its core are friendship, equality, and the value system of the women’s movement, with its corollary that the male role, too, needs to change. A major factor in the companionate marriage is the attempt to balance the partners’ serious emotional investment in the workplace with their emotional investment in the relationship and the children.” Partners in companionate relationships often call one another their best friend.”
When you compare the other types of marriage or primary relationship you might be in, being with your best friend isn’t the worst outcome one could ask for. There are other types of marriage styles that have been identified, though; take a look. [In my opinion, the “Rescue” marriage/relationship might belong to the 6/12 axis.]
Very generally, I would look at the 9th house Composite Sun as a likely location for friendships and partnerships based on mutual interests rather than deep-level romance, passion, or even sex. Do 9th house Composite Sun relationships have sex? Sure; humans are biologically-compelled, after all.
But the risk is that their sex life might morph over time into a more platonic relationship (considering that ‘great’ sex is not a given in any relationship in our overly-busy modern day society).
Before you start to wail and get all despondent though, you must assess other aspects, particularly the synastry. [Doing this step is necessary no matter which house your Composite Sun falls in, especially if you haven’t been together very long.]
My belief is that difficulties, particularly in marriages contracted when you’re young, are there to teach you how relationships work, and how to be more flexible. Most marriages are not fairytales, 9th house dreamers.
The key to whether two people can and will stay together is usually found in the natal chart, though, because determination and a willingness to ignore behaviors you don’t like are crucial to the survival of any marriage.
Learning to accept that one’s aspirations are beautiful but unrealistic is the secret to how most humans continue on with each other. Difficult relationships and marriages continue in spite of each other’s flaws and failings.
The Ninth House experience is delightful as long as your wishes, hopes and dreams don’t become a prison for your partner. You can easily squash someone’s independence by forcing your fantasies on them.
If the other cannot live up to your fantasy of how a relationship ‘should’ be, do you throw them out with the bathwater, or do you demand more of yourself—more compassion, understanding, forgiveness, self-awareness? When you remove blame, and all self-awareness, who will you be? This is where growth in relating to the ‘other’ lies, as long as you’re not giving yourself away for free.
Don’t let your Ninth house dreams (which are often fantasies until they are tested in reality) tell you that this relationship is so perfect you will not let it fail. Instead, if it fails, be realistic about it; pick it up, dust it off, and see if the rest of your chart allows you to forgive the other’s foibles.
The relationships of this house are the result of two people coming together to dream big dreams. They each tend to have in common the desire to find a companion who thinks like they do, cares about the same issues, loves philosophy or ‘higher-minded’ subjects, and everything that comes with books, learning, travel and ‘the foreign’.
When we analyze the 9th house, no matter what sign is on the cusp, we tend to think of it as having a Jupiterian overtone, with all that comes with it, good and bad, and all that lies in between.
We’re especially aware of the ‘all that lies in between’ in the 9th because as a Cadent House, energy might start out high, but follow-through might be lacking or inadequate.
Details go overlooked, and yet that can be an upside for some relationships, because in Jupiter’s expansive spirit, faults and flaws are forgiven, forgotten, or ignored.
There’s a ‘looseness’ or lack of attention in this house that you won’t see again until the ‘Neptunian’ 12th house Composite relationship (an assertion that requires addressing when we get to the 12th house).
The 9/3 axis can be fragile for relationships; in-laws in particular tamper with these relationships, or have undue influence over one or both of the two people involved. 9th house people get the reputation for being open and friendly to ‘everyone,’ and are therefore never, or rarely, left alone, to figure out who they are as a couple.
There is less privacy in this house; the outgoing energies of the 9th house (part of its ‘seeking’ or questing nature) that turn outwards to acquire knowledge can do a disservice to the core relationship, which can be fragile on a practical level, requiring nurturing and some solitude so the two can get to know each other.
While the 7th house relationship often comes in conflict with others (partially to take the pressure off the core relationship, which is often too intense) and the 8th actively discourages others’ interference, the 9th has no automatic defense against others, and is left open to too much gossip, publicity and scrutiny.
Putting up border walls and boundaries doesn’t come naturally to this relationship. One or the other will eventually put their foot down when it comes to outside interference, or should if they want the precious core of this very different type of marriage to endure.
The more you let others in, the fewer dreams you will have left to share. This kind of emotional diffusion mostly happens to 9th house relationships that also align themselves with groups, movements, organizations (churches come to mind) and other sources of philosophical and spiritual nurturance. Cults too. Seekers lose what’s special about their marriage to the demands of gurus. Stuff like that.
The marriage/relationship is ‘sacrificed’ to the needs of the group. The intellectual psychospiritual bond that brought you together dissipates over time if you don’t or won’t protect it. This is not a relationship that thrives on fencing itself in, but you should not be surprised when uninvited interlopers interrupt your beautiful dreams.
Camelot: A Dream of Failed Idealism
An excellent example of the ways in which a Composite represents the Venn Diagram of any relationship (that which the two have in common) is the marriage of Jack and Jackie Kennedy.
I’m not getting into all the politics and the history of the nation and stuff; I’m focusing on their marriage, which was pretty miserable for Jackie, but arguably not for Jack, who lived a separate life most of the time.
The overall goal here is to try to understand a few different problems that plague some marriages, like imbalanced affections, infidelity, and emotional distance and loneliness, and touch on the complicated question of why women stay with unfaithful husbands.
Their separate natals show all the ways in which they were very different people (with certain unusual things in common). The Composite shows the limited, but extraordinary, places in which their lives touched and became ‘as one.’
The disconnects in their marriage serve as a warning for many who marry in haste and repent and repent and repent. Yet this is not to say they shouldn’t have tried; one of the things I try to make clear in readings with clients is that just because you have difficulties in a relationship/marriage does not mean you necessarily give up.
If there is someone I mostly sympathize with in America’s mythopoetic attempt to sell a dream to a great god-fearing nation, it is Jackie Kennedy. Her lived reality was much, much more complicated than conveyed by charming images of a happy family.
That she was largely responsible for creating and maintaining the fantasy ‘Camelot’ image makes the effort all the more ironic, given her 9th house Sun desire to find the end of the rainbow.
Yes, the carefully cultivated public image was largely a public relations’ campaign necessary to promote Jack’s strength as a world leader, but Jackie controlled that image fiercely, at the same time she fought back against Jack’s personal excesses.
People across the world have become very cynical, so the beauty that was Jackie’s imagined Camelot has been left to rust like a decrepit amusement park. This is what happens when reality cannot live up to the dream (also a Virgo/Sagittarius theme, by the way).
When You’re in Love With Love
Jackie’s story should be read as a warning for all young, idealistic, naive women whose self-esteem has been damaged by parental criticism and neglect or abuse. She could have avoided a tremendous amount of emotional (and physical) pain if she hadn’t been primed to fall so hard for an arrogant, lying philanderer.
The astrology of this problem is not complicated. Combine the desire for appreciation (and attention) of noble but proud Sun in Leo with the similar Fixed sign energy of equally proud and determined, but crafty, Scorpio ASC, stir in a harsh Saturn/Venus opposition and then add the asteroid Zeus at Jackie’s IC (childhood experiences but also subconscious expectations about parents) and you have a recipe for emotional disaster.
Aries Moon in the 5th on its own is in love with romance, though. But because that Moon is square the ruler of the chart, Pluto, you can see that the Moon’s dreams will be an uphill battle to manifest. These fiery dreams (Moon in the 5th) are up against some major power-players, who may love you, but force you to do what they want (Pluto in the 8th).
I will elaborate more on this mess as we go, but Neptune on her Midheaven is also involved, with its constant quest for the perfect outcome, so difficult to manifest.
I do not blame Jackie for projecting her idealism onto Jack. She was young, and being idealistic about Jack was pretty much a given for anyone who met him. What I and many others invariably question is why a woman stays with an unfaithful man, and I will look at Fixed star Porrima, as well as asteroids Zeus, Hera and Pan.
Jack was able to project the kind of charisma that would make it very difficult to avoid being seduced by him. We’ll look into his Gemini Sun conjunction with asteroid Pan in greater detail below, but the short version is Pan with Sun would be very seductive, and would need to seduce. Pan conjunct Sun therefore defines his personality, and would not change just because the person got married.
On the other hand, in terms of identifying and stopping toxic behaviors, Jack’s compulsive infidelity was part of a family ‘inheritance,’ encouraged by his father, Joseph Kennedy Sr., who forced his wife Rose to entertain his mistress Gloria Swanson, for god’s sake.
So what do you do when the two people are very different, want very different things from life, and marry anyway?
Before you even look at the synastry, you should be comparing the natals of the two people you’re concerned about. It’s crucial to accept that two people who have chosen to marry one another are not necessarily doing it for the same reasons. One is ‘in love,’ but for the other, the marriage is expedient.
Jack Kennedy, 36 years old when he and Jackie, 24, wed, had long been primed by his father Joe to aspire to the White House. Jack needed a wife to be taken seriously as a contender.
Meeting Jackie and having her conveniently fall for him meant he had one of the pieces of the puzzle necessary to become president. Yes, this process was that cynical. Apparently, both he and his father, Joe, thought of her as a replacement for Jack’s older sister ‘Kick,’ or Kathleen, an extraordinary, and extraordinarily rebellious young Kennedy who died in an airplane accident in 1948.
This doesn’t mean Jack didn’t love Jackie, it just means that love is so much more complicated than young and/or inexperienced dreamers comprehend.
The 3rd house in the natal is implicated when someone marries some sort of sibling replacement, or someone they see more as a friend than a lover. Jack had North Node in the 3rd, while natal Pluto fell within 8˚ of his South Node in the 9th (you do sometimes see Pluto on the South Node in powerful families or families with a difficult or transformative legacy).
But in general, when you see two very different natals, you must be even more wary about judging these two as ‘compatible.’ Marriage is supposed to be for the long-term. Caution is necessary. Although you might see positive indicators in the synastry, the differences and similarities in the individual natal charts reveal much, and the lucky stardust of happy synastry wears off.
To the extent that people are capable of real change, two very different natal charts tell you that one or both will feel a sense of crisis at some point when they realize the other isn’t changing the way they thought s/he would.
Jackie went into her marriage with this common assumption, that she could change him. She knew about Jack’s ‘other women,’ and married him anyway, assuming that of course he would give up women when he married.
The 12 year age difference also should have (ideally) worked out better for them, in that they ‘should have’ shared the same Jupiter sign. That can give the ‘age gap’ marriage a little extra boost, to have the blessing of a Jupiter conjunction in their synastry.
Jackie’s Jupiter was conjunct Jack’s Sun/Venus, however, and that right there is one of those excellent synastry pieces that promises a 9th house idealist the Moon, so to speak. But Jupiter on someone else’s Sun usually means you’ll do almost anything for them, and that’s not always a good thing.
And with his Neptune conjunct her 9th house Sun/Mercury, can we blame her for not seeing (or thinking about him) clearly? Finally, with Moon in Aries in the 5th and the need for romance coming up against the reality of the square to the Sun/Mercury (impulsive romanticism versus the power of the rational mind), Jackie was always going to fall for someone unlikely to give her what she really needed.
That which bound them together were very simply 9th house interests. They shared a love of books and talking about books; a love of art, a love for history and politics.
When a miracle occurred and they had some quiet time alone, especially when Jack was sick, Jackie would read to him and they would discuss issues of the world. As with the 5th house Composite Sun, happiness in the 9th is pretty easily attained, but for Jackie, these moments were fleeting.
Assessing the natals for differences and similarities: What binds these two?
First look at the Ascendent signs; determine rulers (in this case, one is Venus, one is Pluto—what are the similarities and dissimilarities between these two planets in general, do you think?
How likely are they to understand each other overall? These are not trick questions, just food for thought).
You can then assess the houses their Suns fall in. Or you would do what I do, which is assess what houses the rulers of the charts fall in. Jackie’s ruler Pluto falls in the 8th (where it most naturally ‘lives,’ in the underground of one’s psyche, indicating the potential for a fair amount of trauma to be dealt with over the lifetime, as well as an acceptance that life requires or will require depth from you as you struggle with survival issues).
She had in common with Jack then that the ruler of her chart fell in the 8th. They were both capable of keeping everything hidden if they needed to; she had a very hard time revealing her true nature to him (especially since her truest feelings were fear and jealousy when it came to his incessant infidelities).
He certainly did not reveal his truest nature to her, but I take that as a given with an 8th house personality who has no incentive to give away his secrets.
As a Leo/Scorpio, she could not be seen as weak—in spite of her Venus/Saturn opposition, she was as ego-driven as any Fixed sign combination. When the person is represented by two Fixed energy signs, s/he is determined (especially with the combination of Leo and Scorpio) to appear calm, cool, and collected in every situation. This requires a lot of denial.
To appear weak or compromised is not possible; everything in the nature of these two proud signs tells the native to fake it till you make it, and look regal dancing backward in heels.
In Jack’s case, the ruler of his chart, ‘charming’ Venus, also falls in the 8th, somewhat widely conjunct the Sun (but not conjunct asteroid Pan). Venus and the Sun in the 8th indicates that at a very basic level, Jack would never be able to show his truest self to the world, largely because in the struggle between the chthonic nature of the ‘underground’ 8th house up against vulnerable Venus (in Air Gemini) the darker nature of the 8th house will always win.
No man in Jack Kennedy’s position as leader of the free world could afford to look weak, even though he did from time to time (the Bay of Pigs fiasco was the point at which those who had previously supported him began to doubt his strength as a leader, and that happened early in his first, and only, term).
You have Venus ruling your chart, you’d better not have any insecurities, because Venus ruling the chart of a ‘manly’ man in the Mad Men era would have been considered a curse, not a blessing.
In contrast, Jackie’s Sun/Mercury in Leo shone brightly in the aspirational (and fiery) 9th, but the ‘hidden depths’ the 8th house represented for each of them helped bond them over the darker, more painful issues they had to face during their marriage, such as the deaths of three of their infant children.
So from the off, these two had something very odd in common—the depth required to understand Jack’s 8th house was not unknown to Jackie, but the sheer weight of 8th house planets for Jack compared to Jackie’s easier-to-understand and much lighter 9th house indicates that in spite of familiarity with some of his problems, she would not have been able to fully understand who he was.
I would argue that no one ever truly understands the 8th house-dominant person, but it does help to have planets in the 8th like Jackie did. That combination on its own can ‘save’ an otherwise hopeless relationship, although it doesn’t guarantee success in the long term.
Much of the 8th house person is hidden from expression, operates covertly rather than overtly, and keeps secrets, especially from the prying eyes of the spouse. The 9th house person, on the other hand, wants to live an ‘above board’ life, where no one has to lie or keep secrets. These two are automatically operating in separate realms.
Also, the nature of the Ascendents are so very different from each other. Venus tends to be ‘soft,’ requiring a lot of love from its chosen object of affection. Venus as the ruler of the chart with Cardinal Libra on the Ascendent pushes the native to seek pleasure.
Compare that energy to Pluto ruling the Ascendent. In Pluto’s role as Panopticon, s/he observes every action of her prisoner, but is here to learn lessons about trust that a reliable Venus could help with. The ‘other’ Pluto needs so as to calm down ideally comes from a consistent partner (not someone like Jack Kennedy).
Even with an insecure Pluto chasing Venus around though, Jack’s 8th house Gemini Sun/Venus would easily slip out of Jackie’s grasp, largely because Fixed energy moves too slowly to catch up with fleet-of-foot Gemini.
But the more you run (I’m looking at you, Gemini/Sagittarius) the harder the Pluto person will chase you, or chase down your motives. This appears very controlling, of course, but people rarely take the time to understand Plutonian motives, which are based on fear of loss. Not that anyone sits around singing a sad song for Pluto, who overcompensates like Saturn, pissing people off as he goes.
But lack of trust is not good in a love relationship, so right there, we’ve got a fundamental tension between two already very different energetic types, Mutable/Cardinal Air (Gemini/Libra ASC) and Fixed Fire/Water (Leo/Scorpio ASC).
So let’s look at the next way in which these two are fundamentally different.
Jackie’s Leo Sun/Mercury in the 9th contributed to her idealistic, romantic nature. Jackie was also desperate to prove her overly critical mother wrong about her desirability, and knew snaring an ambitious Kennedy would impress the snobbish socialite.
Never marry this young, when your mother’s dark psyche dominates your own desires.
Leo with Scorpio rising is hardly a ‘girly’ girl, although Scorpio rising will pretend to be anything the other wants, if she wants you badly enough.
More than anything, Pluto ruling the chart means this person will do anything for emotional survival. That her natal 8th house Pluto squared her 5th house Moon is not nothing in the equation of how tightly she’d hold on to a love interest who offered security.
If Jackie had not been 12 years younger than Jack, born at a time when young women did not gain sexual experience the way men did, and had not been crippled by deep insecurities thanks to introjecting her mother’s incessant criticism, I don’t know if Jackie would have been quite so smitten with someone guaranteed to break her heart.
Not all of the secrets Jack had learned to hide were necessarily about sexual conquests. Jack was physically weakened by a childhood filled with illnesses. He’d been grievously injured during WWII. He suffered from Addison’s disease. [Chiron conjunct Fixed star 29˚ Pisces Scheat in his natal 6th is a hideous combination, indicating almost constant bad health.]
In short, he was not at all the man Jackie projected her dreams on to. Astrologically, far too many errors in judgement are obvious when you look, not at the places where the synastry implies happiness, but at the places where the synastry warns you off. Love is never enough.
I’m Going to Fall in Love with YOU: Entering through “Destiny’s Gate” at the Vertex/Antivertex
I do often wonder about love. Looked upon from a distance, it seems so silly, but people want Valentines.
Here’s my thesis: Someone who is set up by life to crave romantic love and yet have it be consistently denied AND who blames him- or herself for this lack will be a sucker (and get sucker punched) when they find an appealing facsimile of true love. They will fall hard, not looking where they’re going and not caring, either. Don’t let this be you!
This is to say that only the vulnerable get really hurt by love. Who is vulnerable? Anyone with a pulse? No. What I’d look for first are people with serious Saturn/Venus aspects (conjunctions, oppositions, squares, not so much the trine but even that aspect can be foolish and forget her own self worth).
Saturn- (with its noose around) Venus people are devastated when their one true love turns out to be, well, not so loving after all. Saturn doesn’t seem to entirely deny love; it makes you work for it, though, and it makes you doubt your own self-worth.
When overcompensating, as Saturn does, it can make you so mean-spirited that you manage to push people away before they can reject you (what I now think of as the Donald Trump conjunction, with his world-hating Saturn/Venus conjunction in the 11th).
Your disdain for others makes your love life hard, because people become conquests and lose human status. You take your bad days out on your significant other, rather than learn how to contain and transmute your rage.
Then you’re sad and you cry, all the while completely forgetting (or denying or not consciously aware of) how you pushed that nice person away because you were afraid s/he would reject you. Therein lies the silliness of Saturn, who is self-defeating if you let him.
But we do tend to fall inescapably and unavoidably for someone who tickles our Vertex/Antivertex, the ‘electrical’ complement to all our other axes.
Here’s where I got started with the Vertex/Antivertex:
[Edited for clarity]
The three primary incarnational axes are the:
• Ascendant/Descendant axis, the Magnetic Axis
• The Midheaven/IC axis, the Gravity Axis
• The Lunar Node axis, the Karmic (or fated) axis
In general, a Vertex transit has the potential to be one of those ‘bolt from the blue’ experiences with the power to change your life. Vertex people (whose planets or points aspect this axis through synastry) affect us in ways we do not automatically understand, but like lightning striking, we sure do feel the energy.
Alice Portman says, and I tend to agree with her:
The Vertex axis stimulates Cosmic Awareness, an understanding that an individual is an integral part of the Universe, not just an isolated, separate entity.
When your electrical, cosmic experience tells you you are also part of the Universe, that’s a pretty big deal. Imagine how that feels to the unloved and, according to her evil mother, unloveable, Saturn/Venus opposition person like Jackie.
Jack’s 3˚ Cancer Pluto fell within 1.5 or so of Jackie’s 1˚ Cancer Vertex in the 8th. Jackie wouldn’t have known what hit her when she met Jack, a man she immediately idealized, put on a pedestal, and believed in.
The energy from his Pluto on her Vertex would have been overwhelming. He would have been someone she could not ignore, even though he did not initially pursue her, and time passed before they saw each other again. His effect on her was immediate and transformed her life.
A tightly orbed Vertex combination in synastry can feel like a coup de foudre, French for ‘love at first sight,’ the lightning bolt out of the blue that all true romantics like Jackie hope for.
Crucially though, Jackie’s 17˚46′ Taurus North Node (conjunct her Descendent at 17˚58 Taurus) also fell on Jack’s 8th house 17˚58 Taurus Vertex (putting his Vertex axis exactly on her ASC/DSC, another indication they were going to be together come hell or high water). I mean, what??
That’s one of those rare (‘rare’ defined here as exact conjunctions) fated combinations indicating that her path, her destiny, her future, were tied up with Jack’s life. Since his natal Vertex was also one degree from conjunction with Mars (in the 8th) her fate was tied into all Mars-related issues in his life, including the potential of a violent end (Mars in the 8th square Uranus in the 4th).
His 11˚ North Node in Capricorn was within throwing distance of Jackie’s 1˚ Capricorn Antivertex, but not in close enough orb to register the same level of excitement.
However, Jackie’s 7˚ Capricorn Lilith fell within conjunction of Jack’s 11˚ North Node. Quite honestly, I think Lilith energy would repel a man like Jack Kennedy, who pretty clearly had a place for women that did not include them telling him what to do.
When you meet someone on your North Node path, and that person is represented by Lilith, I think you’re going to end up doing some serious negotiating if you’re a misogynist, which according to most descriptors, Jack Kennedy has to have been (which was by no means unusual in his generation).
The thing that haunts me, though, is Jackie’s North Node conjunct her own Descendent; whoever she married would have been someone who would change her life, and not in the relatively simple way marriage always changes your life.
Anywhere you find natal North Node in such tight conjunction with an angle, or in conjunction with someone else’s angle, you’re seeing a profound message about the way this person will affect you (or the way your own life path is, in my opinion, predetermined).
To say these two had karma with each other is an understatement. Something between them required resolution, which comes from all the serious messages concerning the 8th house and Pluto and the exact conjunctions. The 8th house with Pluto brings us in immediate contact with the most serious life issues we’re presented with.
When you check for the location of your own Vertex, all you have to do is click the box under ‘additional objects’ on Astrodienst, or look for the Vertex in your software.
When you do locate your Vertex, take the house it falls into account, as well as aspects to any of your own planets (for example, my Vertex is 4˚ from conjunction with natal Uranus, potentially a bit wide for some astrologers, but I’m throwing it in because I’m determined to have my own way! Ah, the power.).
Conjunctions in the natal to the Vertex/Antivertex can feel very powerful in your own life, giving you that special feeling that you’re here to do something amazing. You may indeed feel compelled to do something that will somehow change the world.
My sense is that the orb allowable for Vertex synastry is potentially 2-3˚, as with progressions. You don’t want to give yourself too much leeway with this particular axis because you’ll over-estimate the excitement factor and fall in love with one aspect, and then get sad when it turns out the fireworks fizzle out.
Obviously, the best planets to find in conjunction with your Vertex are the positive ones (and/or those in good aspect in the other person’s chart—what good is his Sun falling on your Vertex if his Sun is square Saturn and he hasn’t worked through those issues? I ask you).
However, natal orbs can be a little wider, perhaps up to 5˚, based on working with the Vertex in many charts. For transits, orbs have to be pretty darn tight, but ‘sensitive’ people seem to always feel transits long before the math is definitive.
Before I move on, I will say that my experience (so far, I mean, I have one foot in the grave but I’m not dead yet) is that the Antivertex (controversial though this might be) does seem to have its reasons for holding back on a connection that might otherwise seem desirable.
I see a fair few Saturns falling on someone’s Antivertex, for example, in relationships that have trouble getting off the ground. It does seem as though Antivertex has the power to repel, rather than attract, or let us say it attracts people you should not get involved with. People about whom you will later say, “dodged a bullet there,” and you will be right.
Infidelities and Collusion with the Infidel: Asteroids and Fixed stars too
One of the realities about Jack that made him an especially bad match for Jackie was his predilection to act out his two unfaithful conjunctions: Sun conjunct asteroid #4450 Pan, and the truly compulsive Pluto conjunct the ever-unfaithful Zeus, asteroid #5731.
It’s this second conjunction, located in his natal 9th, the house that shows our relationship to mores and morality, that made Jack Kennedy fundamentally amoral and virtually sociopathic where fidelity to Jackie was concerned. He never stopped behaving as though he was a (9th house) bachelor.
Jackie would have been unusually sensitive to the pain of infidelity. Her parents divorced partially because of her father ‘Black Jack’ Bouvier’s incessant infidelity; with Zeus at her Imum Coeli (but in the 3rd), her early childhood would have been dominated by upset about her father’s drinking, gambling, and philandering.
Jackie’s 8th house asteroid Pan conjunct Venus was in exact opposition to 2nd house 24˚ Sagittarius Saturn Rx (retrograde). We all have Pan lying somewhere in our charts; the question is, what planets does it touch? With Pan opposite Saturn, one can easily see a Puritanical, repressive response to Pan’s overtly sexual energies. Saturn retrograde in the 2nd means that Jackie’s response to her own body was repressive.
I’m going out on a short limb (there is contemporaneous evidence that this was known. These aren’t just my opinions. I do my research.) to suggest that Jack wanted kinky sex (Sun conjunct Pan in the 8th) and could not see Jackie providing it.
The only reason we don’t spend more time thinking about Jack’s sexuality is because he had Saturn on the Midheaven, and no one thinks of someone with Saturn on the Midheaven as having a sex life. They think about the serious things that person did, and how much of an authority figure they were. Depending on the aspects to Saturn, Saturn on the Midheaven = Patriarchy, Dad, Authority, and the Laws of the Land.
Pan is in no way romantic. That Jackie’s Venus/Pan was in conjunction with Jack’s Venus doesn’t say “Nellie bar the doors” when it came to their sex life, it says “oh god no” because of the opposition with Saturn, which also opposed Jack’s Venus.
Our lover’s planets falling in our natal 8th house often seem, on the surface, as though hot sex will ensue, but this is one of the many misunderstandings about the role of sex in the 8th house. The 8th is definitively not about sex, except very broadly as a way people get to know one another and are therefore intimate via the body.
If you want a lot of sex, look to other things, including the 5th house. If you want to have sex which may or may not inspire intimacy, look to the 8th. But the 8th, on its own, does not promise any sex at all. It’s a pretty barren underworld unless you’re willing to pay the price, to give up your secrets and/or your immortal soul.
Then you can have all the sex you want, but you have to be willing to cry about it until 3 a.m. and analyze all your family issues and how they got you to this moment. We’re not talking about ‘fun’ or irresponsible sex here. There have to be other things in the chart before 8th house people get to have fun sex.
Jack was known to reject Jackie’s advances, as you’d expect if someone’s Venus was in opposition to someone’s Saturn. People sensibly ask, wouldn’t Saturn reject Venus?, and I say, not necessarily. Saturn can be sending out those delightfully mutually-exclusive ‘reject me but love me’ signals of which they are usually completely unaware (a function of the opposition aspect, to be completely unaware).
But Venus does not necessarily find Saturn sexually appealing and will often say no cause she’s got higher standards. If Venus is a gorgeous young woman in the prime of life, Saturn is a creepy old man, with one foot in the grave. Metaphorically speaking, that is.
When Venus’ energy is turned inwards, we’re not talking about an innate ability to give love freely. Venus then pretty much loves only herself; she becomes more, rather than less, narcissistic, gazing into her mirror of Vanity.
If you can make the other person’s Venus feel good or look good or, as with Jack’s Gemini Venus, be story-weaver Scheherazade and keep him entertained, you might inspire a response.
You’ve heard of “love languages”? Look to Venus to see what “love language” your partner responds to. Jacks’ Venus in Gemini responded well to being entertained, but that didn’t mean he’d put out where Jackie was concerned.
Also, good luck interpreting someone’s “love language” when their Venus falls in the 8th house, because there’s a lot of other psychological stuff to wade through first. You gotta be persistent, which Jackie was.
A Saturn/Venus question I would have asked her in a consultation would be, Do you love him or are you just really afraid of losing out and being alone if you admit he was a poor choice? Saturn/Venus oppositions in particular hate admitting they were wrong about a lover, because it makes them vulnerable to criticism. For these people, criticism pours like acid into their veins.
At times Jack was seen to avoid Jackie’s touch. Contrasted to his abandon with the nubile Nymphs available to him at any time inside or outside the White House, his behavior with Jackie was notable.
Of course, with Jackie’s Saturn/Venus opposition, you could easily say that this rejection was fated. It didn’t stop them from having sex, of course, but sex didn’t happen all that often, apparently. Ultimately, in the natal, Saturn slows down or negates anything it touches.
Venus wants to be seduced; she is not usually the initiator of the sex act, to sound all Masters & Johnson. Can you really see Saturn seducing Venus? Maybe with offers of jewels. I always say, give me jewels and then we’ll talk. So with Venus, your seductive and charming behaviors are only opening the door, so to speak. It’s Mars, Eros, Pan and Zeus that get all excited sexually. Look there.
So be very careful when you find Saturn connected with Venus in the synastry. You hate it when I say things like that, and yet nothing is going to make me not warn you.
If you find someone who makes fire burn in your heart, I’d look not to Venus but to Mars. Jackie’s Virgo Mars/Eros conjunction points to the type of man she’d burn for. No surprise then that this conjunction fell so close to Jack’s Moon. She especially loved him when he was sick, since that meant the Nymphs went back to the pond and she and Jack had alone time. That’s when Jackie played nurse, a believable Mars in Virgo role.
Now, long before his marriage, Jack was known to have fallen for a Danish woman who was notorious for having socialized with Hitler. With Venus and Mars in Jack’s 8th and his natal 1st house Scorpio Eros close enough to his Antivertex, he’d naturally fall for a woman of mystery. Who better than someone investigated by the FBI for being a Nazi spy?
But he had to leave this lovely blonde lady behind because the two were hounded and wiretapped by the FBI and Jack was threatened with being thrown out of the Navy. Their romance fizzled out, but long after, it was still speculated that Jack had had one true love, and Inga Arvad was it. It’s also pretty clear he never felt that way again about anyone, including Jackie.
Like many politically-motivated marriages throughout time, their ‘Camelot’ fantasy-marriage was pretty much all for show.
About the Asteroids
Inaccurately, but not surprisingly, given the vast expanse of time and the influence of both the Romans and Christianity, Pan has become conflated with satyrs, creatures of nature with absolutely no shame regarding sexuality.
Satyrs were rustic, lustful, drunken, woodland spirits, associated with one of the Greek fertility gods, this time of wine and the harvest, Dionysos. He was the child of Zeus and Persephone, one of Zeus’ harlots (I’m channelling Hera).
Yes, that Persephone, Zeus’ daughter with Demeter. Persephone was the young woman dragged into the underground lair of Zeus’ brother Hades. This soap opera gets complicated, particularly if you’re looking at their messed up sex lives.
Goat-like Pan on the other hand was the rustic woodland god (not a mere spirit) they often hung out with. Pan was actually known for chasing Nymphs without any discrimination or concern for their health. Pan is overtly sexual when he’s chasing Nymphs, who were frequently scared of him.
Pan would also chase humans, like the above shepherd, who is presumably threatened by Pan’s phallus. The Greeks frequently showed Pan or the satyrs chasing a young boy, because those were images of pederastic amour.
Supposedly, Pan was seductive, but in his guise as a rustic goat god, you’d have to take that with a gram of salty olives. Perhaps he was able to seduce most Nymphs through a form of persuasiveness; Pan was considered to be pretty darn charming when he made an effort and didn’t just lunge on you, all rapey.
It’s known (as far as myths can be said to be ‘known’) that some Nymphs ran away, though, so he couldn’t have been all that persuasive. Nymphs are known to have had minds of their own.
As for asteroid Zeus, this is one of those things you probably don’t need a lot of background explanation for. The Greek god Zeus was married to (his sister, complicated I know) Hera, and was perpetually unfaithful to her.
This drove Hera over the edge and she frequently found intricate ways to exact revenge. Their contentious union was the subject of the gods’ gossip. Mount Olympus, as far as I can tell, was like living in a fishbowl. Zero privacy.
In your natal chart, asteroid #103 Hera, the goddess of marriage and women falls in one of your houses. This is where you’d look to see how you deal with the concept of being a wife but more to the point, the ways in which you are vengeful and jealous in the face of infidelity or the fear of infidelity.
Jackie’s natal Hera, for example, fell in the 12th in Scorpio. Did she keep her jealousy hidden (emotions hide ‘well’ in the 12th)? Oh hell yes. She hated the fact that the Secret Service knew more about her husband’s private life than she did; it was humiliating.
Jack didn’t seem to care who knew, as long as Jackie didn’t find out, which means everyone had to keep his secrets. The White House pool was filled with water Nymphs within minutes of Jackie’s chauffeur-driven limousine leaving the grounds.
Jack’s natal Hera was conjunct bad-reputation Fixed Star Scheat in the 6th. It does seem as though his wife, represented by asteroid Hera, would function as his nurse/helper-bee, particularly around anything to do with physical illness.
Jackie was renowned after Jack’s death for having stayed faithfully by him every minute. She was with him during the horror of the assassination and then the attempted medical intervention in Texas before doctors realized he was dead, and she maintained a vigil next to his coffin on the plane back to Washington D.C. She never left his side.
Jack never did stop chasing Nymphs, even shortly after the most devastating blow fate dealt him, the death of his tiny son Patrick, the last of the children Jackie would have. Jack cried at Jackie’s hospital bedside one day, and found succor in the arms of Mary Pinchot a little later.
The nature of Pluto’s compulsivity helps me understand Jack Kennedy’s behavior. Pluto conjunct Zeus says he had no real way to stop, any more than Zeus did in mythology. We do tend to think of this kind of ‘god-like’ behavior as arrogant, repulsive, even potentially sociopathic when a human engages in it.
But you know, Jack learned this behavior from his father, Joe Sr., who seems to have believed it was his god-given right to screw whoever he wanted, marriage vows be damned.
I’m not going to spend a lot of time on the synastry of father and son, but I did want to point out that Joe Senior shared Pluto in the 9th with his most amoral son, Jack, while Joe’s natal Sun/Hera/Moon fell on Jack’s Moon.
Apparently, Joe imparted to his sons and any man who married into the family that they had his blessing if they wanted to sleep around. But like a chip off the old block, Joe’s Zeus fell on Jack’s Uranus; of all his sons, Jack was the most arrogant in his willingness to throw his marriage vows out the window.
He was the son who followed in Joe’s footsteps in this one way: He forced Jackie to entertain a woman who was known to be the one mistress Jack could not give up, Mary Pinchot. Finding out about this mistress would have been a particularly bitter betrayal for Jackie, who counted Mary as one of her few Washington D.C. friends.
The woman Joe Sr. would not give up was the actress Gloria Swanson, whom he infamously forced Rose to entertain in their own home. Rose, however, was thrilled to meet a real Hollywood actress, and never showed any overt jealousy. Ever.
In fact, she was so magnanimous about Joe’s infidelities, it was speculated that she was not in sound mind, but it is also known that she coped by taking soothing pills, Valium or some other calming medicament.
(Her chart lies below Joe’s.)
Collusion With the Infidel: The role of Fixed Star Porrima in the charts of those who stay with the oppressor
Jackie made the conscious, carefully thought out decision to remain married to a man she knew was unfaithful to her, and she did it at a time that makes me heart-sick for her, because she would have been so vulnerable, and chose to cling to him anyway.
She came to this decision in 1956 after her second pregnancy. The first was a miscarriage, and the second child was stillborn. Jack had responded to this distressing news by callously choosing to remain in Europe with brother Bobby and naked Nymphs to ‘play,’ rather than return to his wife’s side.
Jackie struggled more than once with the decision of whether to stay or divorce Jack. Why didn’t she leave him?
Natal Fixed Star Porrima at 9˚ Libra in the 11th opposed 11˚ and 12˚ Uranus/Pallas Athene in the 5th and formed a T-square with 18˚ Pluto Cancer in the 8th. This T-square was transited by Venus over Pluto the day her stillborn child died. Other relevant transits were Uranus over her natal Sun/Mercury, and Saturn transiting her 1st house.
Porrima, in the constellation Virgo, is not spoken of all that often. Let me tell you about her. She is, of all the Fixed Stars, the one most closely associated with women’s sacrifice, suicide, self-silencing and the dangers of childbirth.
The Arabic name for this star is “Caphir,” and as such was also known as ‘an atonement offer’ and ‘the submissive one.’ The Arabs must not have liked this constellation (or this star) because Caphir means ‘infidel,’ a person who adheres to a religion different from yours.
The Romans associated this star with Antevorta and Postvorta, goddesses pregnant women invoked for help against the dangers of childbirth. Antevorta/Postvorta were also aligned with prophecy, the ability to see into the future and into the past.
In general, the constellation of Virgo is thought to have originally been named for Erigone, the daughter of Icarius, a winemaker killed by shepherds who wrongly accused him of poisoning them with bad wine.
Erigone, in a fit of grief, hung herself over her father’s grave. In literature and mythology, Greek women were exalted for sacrificing themselves when their father or brother died, or to save Athens. This was a powerful message to send to the young women of Classical Athens, a time when Athens sought to expand its colonial imperialism across the Mediterranean.
This type of appeal appears to give women power. It exalts the power of their weakness, making their weakness their strength. The patriarchy doesn’t actually give women any real power; what it does is (and I honestly don’t know where they get this ability to evilly twist a negative into a supposed positive; they’re not that intelligent, one would think) cleverly make women feel better about themselves, give them impotent political ‘power’, by asking themselves to ‘sacrifice’ themselves to the needs of the patriarchy.
Have babies so you can give them up to our need for expansion, which benefits you indirectly when your sons and their wives get to live in some new land. Sure, you’ll never see them again, but by the gods, you’re a good woman. This is just one rough example of sacrifices women have been encouraged to make throughout time; there are so many more.
For me, Porrima represents the negative side-effects of negotiating in good faith with the patriarchy. It’s as though the overall message is, no matter what you give, it will never be enough unless you sacrifice yourself for some man (or to the state). Even childbirth is potentially lethal, if not for the woman, for the baby itself, and you’ll lose that child eventually anyway, since his (and it’s always his) future belongs somewhere else, protecting the homeland.
Now, in spite of the fact that Jackie was unusually set up to be attracted to an adulterer, she did put up some resistance to Jack’s outrageous behavior. The urge to give in entirely and just look the other way fought with the urge from the conjunction of 5th house Uranus and Pallas Athene to declare her independence from Jack’s nonsense.
In 1956, though, Jackie was feeling like a failure. A previous birth in 1955 had ended in a miscarriage, and now her second child had been stillborn. Jackie had not yet fulfilled her dream of being a successful mother and wife. I’m arguing that she chose to do something that was against her best interests, and instead of leaving, stayed with Jack, determining that she would indeed look the other way.
In choosing this way of coping with Jack’s infidelities, she came far too close to emulating someone she had no respect for, her mother-in-law Rose.
Rose, unlike Jackie, has a combination involving Porrima that illustrates how one gets tied up in these negative behaviors without realizing the potential outcomes.
After Rose made the decision to go on as though nothing had happened when her husband brought his mistress home, she sealed her fate. Her children, and later, their spouses, had no respect for her, or pitied her. They sure didn’t want to emulate her, and neither did Jackie.
If you look at Rose’s chart though, you can see the power of Fixed Stars in action. Porrima is conjunct the Moon; on its own, that one aspect indicates that the person emotionally identifies with the energy of the Fixed Star in question.
Moon with Porrima creates a woman who doesn’t perceive she can do anything about her lot in life; if Porrima is ‘weak,’ then the Moon in Libra just wants everyone to get along, and with Porrima, has no skills at fighting off a role that is handed to her through lies and evasion. The woman whose husband is unfaithful isn’t supposed to know, she’s supposed to be kept in the dark, passively waiting for him to return home.
Then, Porrima/Moon is caught up in a Grand Air Trine. In my experience, people with a lot of Air in the chart only realize late in life that they’ve been living their lives according to the dictates of society. Air and social expectations go hand in hand, so if you encounter a woman who believes society’s expectations are more important than her own reality, take a look at her Air sign situation.
Social injunctions change over time, of course, but you’ll notice that most of them have always been inherently limiting to the individual woman. Society as a monolith with tremendous power would have been strong enough to deter Rose from obtaining a divorce, even though she could have afforded to.
She was not a firebrand, in spite of being a Leo like Jackie, and like Jackie, she had a Venus/Saturn aspect (the conjunction).
For many, many women, self-worth is and was dependent on their view of themselves as a successful wife and mother. Jackie never stopped thinking that she was the reason Jack was unfaithful, never believed in her own self-worth aside from her roles as wife and mother. I like to think that some of this has changed for women, but Porrima is a Fixed Star, which means she’s there is everyone’s charts, having more or less influence depending on aspects it makes to other planets.
Finally, in Rose’s chart, you’ll notice the roles Hera and Zeus play. I think she struggled with her identity as a wife and mother; Hera in Pisces opposes Venus in Virgo from the 1st to the 7th.
The thing about marriage is, you can be unhappily married and still have a ‘good’ life lived without an intimate connection between partners. For these people, marriage is more of an institution than it is a deeply personal emotional bond. People really do stay together ‘for the children’ and for material comfort.
Rose’s natal Zeus is in the 10th, in wide conjunction to Mars. It’s easy to make the argument that this combination indicates a randy husband (Mars) who is well-known and powerful (10th house) and ritually unfaithful (Zeus). The entire world knew about Joe’s unrepentant philandering.
Rose was born into a time when ‘men would be men’ and weren’t expected to toe a fine line when it came to fidelity. I think the major difference for Jackie was that she hoped against hope to marry someone who loved her so much, he wouldn’t feel the need to stray, and I feel so sad for her that this wasn’t possible. And so, Jackie became a version of Rose, much to her chagrin.
Last But Not Least, the Dark Moon and the Composite
The Composite contains a lot of information about the way a relationship will unfold. I generally do not recommend relying on this information unless you are in a relationship that’s got legs; in other words, you’ve been together as an actual, not virtual, couple for quite some time. You’ve lived together. You got married. Or you’re related.
Otherwise, people who want to be in love look at one aspect in a Composite and lose their damn minds. I say this with love in my heart: please don’t go down this rabbit hole. It’s 3 a.m. and you’re fixated on your Sun/Venus conjunction in the 6th of your Composite chart, or worse, this conjunction falls in the 5th, and now he loves you too.
You’d have better odds pulling petals off a daisy. He loves you, he loves you not. How about you get to know each other first and then decide?
Okay, so after a couple of years (not long enough, in my opinion) of getting to know each other, Jackie and Jack wed and began living their life of bliss. Uh, not so fast. They had a honeymoon, like normal married people, and then he split to go join his friends and sent her home on her own. Italics provided by my indignation for the way he treated her, right from the start.
Where do we see this behavior in the Composite? I’m going to go back, back, no, even farther, to start from the idea of the relationship itself, which exists in every Composite, and that is with the Sun itself. This Sun energy is not as tied up with both people becoming ‘one’ as we see in other houses.
There’s more ‘breathing room’ in the 9th, and if that’s messed with, one or both could be really unhappy.
Being two different people is not a shock to this house. Taking separate vacations is fine, just so long as both people are experiencing the exaltation of living and aren’t wasting their time in front of TV reruns. The point here is that each person must be living their best life, and if that means they must go their separate ways to do it, that’s cool.
Unlike the 11th house, jealousy is not verboten (and therefore sublimated, a problem we will get to in another post). Friends are allowed in this relationship, up to a point. The idea of friends sounds good on paper, so they’re encouraged, because this is, after all, a house influenced by Fire, and Fire is extroverted.
To be ‘friendless’ for a 9th house dynamic feels like Purgatory. What is wrong with us that we have no friends, these two wonder?
These two are going to be see and be seen, but more to the point, they have a lot to offer others, and others are drawn like moths to the flame. Ha, a fire pun.
But the purpose of this relationship is to share what you’ve learned and are learning with each other; that’s where the deepest need for privacy comes from. Superficial relationships are fine, but if you find someone who understands you better than your Composite-mate, beware.
The precious resource here is the bridge created between two minds; as long as that private territory is not breached, jealousy can be kept at bay. The body is (somewhat) less important than sharing ideas and experiences.
My sense is that if you stray and you insist, as 9th house planet people do, on telling the other about it, as long as you both share 9th house freedom and truth values, you might survive the Long Dark Night of the Soul that is the aftermath of admitting to being unfaithful.
This being a more ‘plastic’ house (Mutable, influenced by Sagittarius, which come on, isn’t known for sitting still) the two might get past infidelity. Not ritual infidelity, though; that’s a bitter pill to swallow, because eventually one or the other figures out they do not, after all, share the same values and the magical bridge is destroyed.
As long as denial lasts or the unfaithful person manages to keep that secret, these two float along on the strength of all the philosophies they believe in. I am going to suggest that denial works in their favor, because there is often no one who ‘gets’ them the way their 9th house compatriot does. It can be terrible to wrench two compatible minds from each other.
So to go back to the source of the fundamental problem that existed between Jackie and Jack, we have to look at the Dark Moon qualities of their exact Sun/Moon conjunction in Cancer in their 9th house.
First let’s discuss the idea of the Dark Moon in general. I know that most astrology-related websites talk about ‘setting intentions’ and how the New Moon (not the Dark Moon, which is conflated by too many) is an excellent time for beginnings, planting seeds, etc.
All the metaphors about taking action at the ‘beginning’ of things, I will argue, are typical of fuzzy thinking, and from what I’ve seen, too many writers on this subject came up with a metaphor that is not based on accuracy, and is therefore misleading people into doing something at the exact wrong moment in time. And timing is the essence of how astrology works.
Now, I’m not here to pull the wings off your butterflies and destroy all the cheerful ideas you’ve relied on up till now, but these happy astrology writers are not referring to the actual dark of the Moon. There is a period of time in the month (approximately 2-1/2 days) when the moon is not at all visible. Not even a sliver. It is occluded. Occlusion is its own special state of being.
Astronomy isn’t astrology, but knowing some astronomy illuminates the fuzzy areas of astrology:
In astronomy, the new moon is the first lunar phase, when the Moon and Sun have the same ecliptic longitude. At this phase, the lunar disk is not visible to the unaided eye, except when silhouetted during a solar eclipse. Daylight outshines the earthlight that dimly illuminates the new moon.
Before electric lights destroyed our understanding of what true dark means, the darkness created by the dark Moon had its own meaning.
Instead, most astrology writers are referring to the day or so after the Dark Moon, when you begin to see that tiny sliver of light, and hope reemerges from the heavens again, and the world is no longer plunged in darkness.
The astronomical dark of the Moon occurs when you cannot see anything (the Moon receives 0% sunlight, while a Full Moon is 100% illuminated); there isn’t even a shadow to indicate there’s a Moon in the sky.
The side of the Moon that faces us as we look towards the sky has no light reflecting off its lunar surface. The Moon never radiates any light of its own and is entirely dependent on the Sun for its reflective power.
At the Dark of the Moon, we don’t see the side of the Moon that is illuminated by the Sun. The Sun instead faces (and illuminates) the side of the Moon we don’t see from Earth.
Throughout history, the ‘new moon’ announced the day that began the Lunar calendar, but this was also the crescent new moon we think of the most, the one that is visible to the naked eye.
The two days or so prior to this newly visible crescent was known to the Greeks (mostly thanks to Hesiod, who wrote the first ‘calendar’ based on the workings of the cosmos) as the day of the ‘old and the new.’
This was a special day, notably different in tone than any other day of the calendar. It contained a certain sense of ‘circularity,’ where the end of one month sets up the tone for the new beginning to come. Crucially though, the new hasn’t actually arrived.
At the darkest moon, which for our purposes is defined as the exact conjunction of the Sun and the Moon, we are in a liminal state of waiting. In my opinion, given everything I understand about how energy works, this is the very worst time to reach out from this darkness to plant seeds or set intentions.
When you consider that during these two-and-a-half days, the only dim illumination we can perceive coming from the Moon is actually light reflected from Earth, it seems fairly obvious that during the dark of the Moon, we are especially prone to Earth-based ego projection.
How can we engage with the rational effort of setting intentions (rationality symbolized by the Sun in the chart) at the very moment there is 0% Sun energy available to us? Instead, it seems pretty clear we’re in a moment of ‘true’ darkness, and I will extend that metaphor to include a mental/emotional/psychic darkness.
It’s a space of divine mystery, not one where the overly-rational Western mentality has any dominance or power, and I think this is precisely why so many astrologers talk about ‘setting intentions,’ because the West is so uncomfortable with just being, rather than doing.
Listen, we can’t be ‘doing’ every second. You’ll burn out, and my ancestors will tell you that they didn’t emigrate only to have future generations perform the same back-breaking work they had to.
Our only goal during the astronomical dark of the moon then is to sit back and let the cloak of darkness descend. Turning off the rational mind (that part of us capable of setting intentions) is what’s required, not cranking up the generators so we can do something antithetical to the energy available to us. There is no need to rush the river, and yet how many people are capable of biding their time until the right moment arises?
Instead, this is a time of listening to the messages of your dreams, where barely discernible symbols speak their own language. The Moon card in the Tarot (which is tied to the High Priestess) symbolizes some of this energy; we keep our secrets, we are mystery incarnate. The Moon in its dark phase is unknowable.
Dark Moon people (and here I mean the exact or very close conjunction, not Moon and Sun technically ‘together’ in the same sign, separated by 5˚ or more) don’t necessarily know themselves very well, and there’s good reason for this.
Dark Moon people, born on that relatively rare interstitial few days in the lunar cycle, can be confused about who they are, but it’s not Neptunian confusion, it’s almost as if their truest self remains cloaked, just out of sight.
If they admit to this, praise them. They’re being honest, and New Moons are not ‘about’ the rationality of honesty; they’re just figuring things out in this incarnation. They respond instinctually, which on its own can carry them far.
Joe Kennedy was a ‘Dark Moon’ person, his 14˚ Virgo Sun conjunct 18˚ Moon in the natal 12th house. Joe discouraged all the Kennedys from self-reflection. Action was privileged over inaction.
From everything I’ve read, Joe would never admit to any weakness, but you expect that from people who refuse to analyze their own faults or question their behaviors.
You could say that the negative end of the spectrum for Dark Moon people is this refusal to question themselves about their own behaviors. Their instinctive responses are sufficient to convince themselves of who and what they are.
Deeper-thinking Dark Moon people want to know more. Unlike teenagers discovering themselves over time, their default position is to be deeply unsure, and unlike Joe, who over-compensated, that bothers them. These Dark Moon people may then become ‘prey’ to more dominant types, who take advantage of their lack of certainty.
My sense is that the Dark Moon type does not adapt easily to others’ dictates and can spend a lot of time alone without getting freaked out, but I would imagine there are plenty who cannot be alone, because then they’d be able to hear themselves think.
With Fixed or Cardinal signs or tied-down aspects to Saturn or Pluto, though, this personality type is more easily defined.
That inner sense of confusion about the nature of the self may never go away, but the person influenced by Fixed, Cardinal, or angular energy behaves in a relatively orderly manner. Under these circumstances, strangers assume they know this person, even when she does not know herself.
But precisely because the Dark Moon person doesn’t have definitive answers, the search for definition is the work of a lifetime. S/he is a very interesting person because she tries (almost) anything to uncloak herself and see what lies beneath.
There is a certain kind of power available to those who aren’t afraid of this darkness. I think they ‘get’ others much better than they understand themselves.
Even so, there is a fundamental danger of over-using what is essentially a form of manipulation; you think you understand others, but don’t realize that because they see you more clearly than you see yourself, you are at a disadvantage. Any attempts at manipulation are misguided. Much of course depends on the signs, houses, and aspects involved. The less conflicted the chart, the easier the individual is to understand.
The New Moon in the Composite chart
The more time I’ve spent with all of this inner contemplation about what things mean (combined with a lot of reading) the more I’ve come to the conclusion that Jack and Jackie’s relationship was not a good idea at the personal level, and yet was entirely inescapable at the karmic level.
One wonders with that combination of a bad relationship that is entirely karmic if, in the case of the Dark Moon in the Composite, that what we’re really talking about are two people who don’t have to know each other all that well; they’re just here to perform a function?
Is that too utilitarian, or is that the way karma works? Did this relationship/marriage that ended in such tragedy teach either of them anything?
I wonder about this marriage’s karmic purpose, because there have, throughout human history, been so many marriages conducted for the purpose of creating heirs and solidifying ties, or building wealth across nations.
I mean, they did feel love for each other, they just didn’t know each other. They married in a kind of willful blindness. Jackie would have most likely initiated a divorce, because if Jack had lived, he would have faced a Congressional investigation into White House sex scandals. This investigation was to have begun in the month or so after his return from Dallas.
At that point, Jackie could have embraced freedom (Uranus conjunct Pallas Athena in Aries in her 5th, the same house as her Moon in Aries) and Jack would have met Lilith on his North Node. I think both of them would have grown from a permanent separation.
Instead, Jackie moved on to marry a man (Aristotle Onassis) who reified her need for security, which, with his Saturn on her IC and his Pluto on her Venus, means ‘locked down’ for a woman who has not yet embraced the strength that comes from being free from the perceived need for a man, especially an older man who ends up controlling her.
Onassis also called her a witch just before he died; her Lilith fell between his Capricorn Uranus/Mercury conjunction). Lilith is prominent in synastry where one person is ‘bewitched’ by the other, and comes to resent that ‘bewitchment’.
Who are the two people in the Dark Moon Composite chart? Certainly, they are unknown to each other; they are each a mystery, designed to irritate (or entertain) the other with their inexplicable ways. Jack and Jackie were destined to keep secrets from each other, largely due to a desire for self-protection with Sun/Moon in Cancer, but also because the Dark Moon in the Composite has an instinctive response towards secrecy.
The Cancer Sun/Moon requires something very difficult from these two; Jack with his masculine Air Gemini Sun (but deeply mysterious 8th house), Jackie with her highly rational Sun/Mercury in Leo, meet as a Water sign in the otherwise rational 9th house, the house of aspiration and hope.
Focus on Cancer means a focus on family. For both, family came first. I’m (sadly) sorry that I think Jackie’s primary function was to provide children for the continuation of the Kennedy family.
Joe Sr. had chosen Jackie specifically for Jack; I think Jackie functioned for the Kennedy’s much like another innocent lamb to the slaughter, Princess Diana (9˚ Cancer Sun almost exactly square Fixed Star Porrima), to ensure the Kennedy’s increasing power.
It does seem as though the two people in a New Moon Composite relationship can choose to remain blind to each other’s hurtful behaviors if it suits them. Denial and lack of self-awareness seems to accompany the Dark Moon relationship.
It is known that Jackie’s passive-aggressive form of revenge for Jack’s infidelities was to spend inordinate sums of money (her natal Saturn opposite Venus from the 2nd to the 8th would give a feeling of perpetual want or desire for money and all that money can buy).
Jack passive-aggresively raged when he saw the bills, but paid them anyway. At no time was the subject of infidelity raised between them.
What you see are two people sitting in the dark, not speaking about what’s really going on, willfully causing each other pain. Although they’re afraid of the dark, they’re more afraid of turning on the lights (if they even could) to take a good look at the damage they’re doing to each other.
For example, Jack knew that Jackie knew about his infidelities, and yet was in denial that his constant philandering could touch his marriage. The two colluded with each other to keep this secret.
The Dark Moon in the Composite symbolizes fragility; the relationship will break in two if it is exposed to daylight. There is a closeness and security about certain things, but not others.
This fragility, the ‘here but not here’ energy is contrary to the straightforward 9th house. The world sees a mystery, not a couple. These two seem grand; this is the 9th house after all, so close to the Midheaven we can see success from here.
Their Composite Sun/Moon was also conjunct Pluto, which picks up the overall theme of Pluto across their natals and synastry. Pluto augments the theme of secrets and mysteries, but also the potential for impending tragedy and death.
Now, it’s entirely possible that a different combination of houses and signs with the Dark Moon in the Composite would be excellent for artistic relationships. Less Pluto, more Venus or Mercury, for example, would lighten the nature of this relationship.
People who need silence and mutual understanding without words will make the most of the Dark Moon (particularly if it falls in a Water sign or the three water-influenced houses, the 4th, 8th, and 12th). Writers, psychologists, all kinds of deep and quiet people. Even scientists. They’d probably love the mystery of the Dark Moon.
Tarot readers, deep-thinkers as they are, can offer the best answers to the mysteries brought to you during the period of the Dark Moon.
This has been a long, stressful post for you to read, I’m sure, so I want to leave you with the calming effects of the Tarot Lady who understands the silent, self-reflective nature of the few days of the Dark Moon:
This is a time for rest, reflection, meditation, and soul searching. It’s good for turning inward and asking yourself: what do I want? Use the information you gather to set intentions for the New Moon. [Bold italics brought to you by moi so you will stop setting your intentions at the wrong time.]
This day (or days) is also ideal for banishing work. What do you want to release? That stagnant relationship? Those self-limiting beliefs? That awful argument you just had with a loved one? Let it go so you can welcome the things you really want.
Good questions for reflecting:
- What am I ready and willing to let go of?
- What is no longer working in my life?
- In what ways am I holding myself back from having the life I want?
- What shadow beliefs do I need to confront?
- What goals could I set right now?
- What new habits and thoughts might move me towards my goals?
- What do I want to receive?
- What am I ready and willing to welcome into my life?
I shall leave you with a Dark Moon Tarot spread to try. Look inwards for your answers, 9th house people (and pretty much anyone else on a quest for greater self-understanding).
Selected reference materials:
Byrne, Paula. Kick: The True Story of JFK’s Sister and the Heir to Chatsworth. Harper, 2016 [reprint].
Hersh, Seymour M., The Dark Side of Camelot. Back Bay Books, 1998 [reprint].
Leaming, Barbara. Mrs. Kennedy: The Missing History of the Kennedy Years. Free Press, 2011 [reprint].
Swift, Will. The Kennedys Amidst the Gathering Storm: A Thousand Days in London, 1938-1940. HarperCollins, 2009.