Dembowska—The Question Mark
As our regular readers know, we are discussing a new asteroid in each issue of The Mutable Dilemma. Icarus, Lilith, and Hidalgo have been covered in the preceding three issues. I had planned to continue with the ten asteroids calculated by Al H. Morrison and J. Lee Lehman of New York. But during our just-completed seminars, we added the four asteroids selected by Batya Stark of Denver which had been calculated by Mark Pottenger. Batya has written an incredibly amusing book about “her” asteroids, and it is being published by Astro Computing. An ephemeris of the four: Dembowska, Dudu, Pittsburghia, and Frigga, will be published in the book. Since the name “Dembowska” offered no hints as to a possible meaning for the asteroid, Batya chose a question mark as its symbol. With all the other asteroids, we have started with some sort of theory to test. I had expected the total uncertainty about Dembowska to relegate it to the end of the line in order of discussion. But to my surprise, many cases appeared in which Dembowska was prominent (close aspects to other factors in the chart) in both natal and progressed charts. I became so intrigued, I put it in additional charts of famous people, and found it repeatedly concerned with power, often with over-drive, and sometimes with self-blocking.
So my tentative theory, as of spring 1982, is that Dembowska is another little brother to Saturn and Hidalgo. Can astrologers handle two more Saturns? Many people have trouble handling one Saturn, let alone three! Of course, it will take a lot of testing to support or cast doubt on the assignment of Dembowska to letter ten. To try it out for yourself, you will need to get Batya’s book with Mark’s ephemeris. It should be printed by August, available in time for the A.F.A. conference in Chicago, and also available from Para Research. In the meantime, we will keep you posted on new developments.
Batya had discovered that ex-President Nixon had progressed Dembowska on his MC during the Watergate episode and his forced resignation from the office of President. That should have been a giant clue, but it took several more cases to get the message through to me. While working with the chart of Phyllis Schlafly, arch enemy of the Equal Rights Amendment, I found progressed Dembowska on her progressed Sun in her fifth house. Schlafly is trying to keep women in the home, tending babies and subject to their husbands. Of course, you should do as she says, not as she does. She flies all over the country, lecturing and debating, and is said to be thinking of running for Congress. If her lawyer husband wants her to stay home, he has not said so publicly. My third spectacular case was the discovery that Ronald Reagan had progressed Dembowska conjunct his natal Sun for six years, up to the middle of 1980, so it was there while he was trying to become President. Natal Dembowska is within one degree of Reagan’s natal Mercury in Capricorn. Reagan’s time is so uncertain, we can’t be sure of the house positions of Dembowska. I would class all of these individuals as examples of over-drive.
I had seen some “normal” (non-famous) cases with Dembowska which seemed to suggest a potential for self-blocking with it. One interesting person was a young woman with Ascendant, Sun, and Moon in Cancer combined with much emphasis on the intellect. Dembowska was exactly on her natal Moon in the first house. The subject’s comment, when we prepared to interpret her chart, was that she “didn’t identify at all with her Cancer.” She had decided not to marry, and was putting her primary attention and energy into her job and her studies. She said the reason for her decision was seeing her mother sacrifice herself for her husband and children. The mother was intelligent, but never did anything with it, and had no life of her own. It is common for a first house Moon (or Cancer) to take the mother as a role model, whether positive or negative. If the mother is a positive model, the child consciously or unconsciously wants to imitate the mother. When the mother becomes a negative role model, as in this case, the child seeks to do the opposite of what was done by the mother. So the subject, in this case, rejected a life centered in a family, but she still had the Cancer, and she still wanted a child. She chose to have a child without marriage, and is raising her son alone. She mentioned that her mother could not handle her having a child while unmarried, and that the mother had died soon after the baby was born.
Thinking of Dembowska as like Saturn makes sense of these events. Mother (doing the Cancer-family trip) had no career and no power, and eventually blocked her power so successfully she died when her reputation was shattered and her success as a mother denied through her daughter’s action. When we live as Schlafly demands, depending on the actions of others for our sense of self-worth, we build on shaky ground. Our subject chose a career in the world over the Cancer focus on home. But the act of raising a child as a single parent, with total responsibility, is also quite appropriate for a mixture of letters four and ten. Our subject also has Saturn in Leo, the sign of procreation and children, and she had the south node of the Moon in the fifth house in Scorpio, all supporting the lessons in the area of relationships.
After I got the message that Dembowska might be another Saturn, I started putting it in the charts of famous people, using Lois Rodden’s American Book of Charts. I may have biased the results, since I went past a lot of actors and musicians, looking for people who had been involved with power; politicians, murderers, victims, and so on. Of course, we are also limited to the 20th century, since the ephemeris covers that period, though Mark also calculated the four chosen by Batya for the years of 1776 and 1777, to permit their use in a possible chart of the U.S. In my normal time-bind, I haven’t gotten through the Rodden book, but will describe some of the interesting cases to date.
John Mitchell, Robert McNamera, and Hamilton Jordan were all involved in politics in various ways. Mitchell was Attorney General for Nixon, up to his eyebrows in Watergate, and served a prison term for it. His natal Dembowska is in the twelfth house square his MC and an exact Moon-Icarus conjunction on his IC. Robert Mc Namera was the first non-family person to be president of Ford Motor Co., was Secretary of Defense under Gerald Ford, and was President of the World Bank. Unlike Mitchell, he was fairly successful in his handling of power though he was considered a “hawk” on defense. His Dembowska is widely conjunct his MC and exactly trine his Ascendant. The trine remained exact within one degree until he was 43 years old; a strong statement of his ability to use power effectively. Jordan was ex-President Jimmy Carter’s right-hand-man, acknowledged to have more “behind-the-scenes” power than most in that administration. Jordan’s Dembowska is widely conjunct Mars, more closely square Saturn, sextile Pluto, and semisextile Mercury-Jupiter. He took a lot of flak for his power, but came through it.
Indira Gandhi offers one of the most appropriate examples, to conclude our politicians. Her natal Dembowska is conjunct her natal Antivertex in the tenth house. (Births near the equator can put the Antivertex in unusual positions). Progressed Dembowska moved retrograde to make a station on Gandhi’s natal Jupiter in the tenth house, remaining in the one degree orb from 1970 to 1996. In spite of heavy opposition, Gandhi has maintained control over India, including dictatorial powers for some years. A long progressed trine of progressed Jupiter in the tenth house to progressed Mars in the second house (natally Mars is in the first house) repeats the same message of continuing power.
Pope John Paul I was not exactly a politician, but he certainly held a number of executive positions in his life. His Dembowska was opposite his Ascendant (in the seventh house) and trine his Sun. If he had had Saturn in the seventh, we would have said he was “married to his career.” Two Nazi leaders were given (in the section of the book covered) who were born in this century. Both had Dembowska on the MC, Adolph Eichmann very widely, in aspect to many other planets including semisextile a Saturn- Hidalgo conjunction, and in different aspects to Eichmann’s cardinal T-square of Neptune opposite Uranus with both square Venus. Heinrich Himmler had Dembowska exactly on his MC with Jupiter one degree into the tenth house and Uranus two degrees farther.
Then there was James Dean, the Hollywood star who lived like his roles, self-destructively. He died in an auto crash. His Saturn in Capricorn was at the midpoint of Hidalgo and Dembowska (five degrees between Saturn and the other two), with Pluto exactly opposite Saturn so also at the midpoint of Hidalgo-Dembowska. Pluto was in Cancer in the tenth house; the “three Saturns” in Capricorn in the fourth house. The nodes of the Moon and Uranus made a cardinal grand cross out of the group.
Muhammad Ali has Dembowska on his south node of the Moon octile his Sun and with a variety of other aspects. Willy Brandt, Chancellor of West Germany and mayor of West Berlin, also has Dembowska on the south node of the Moon. They are both learning to handle power, but in very different arenas. Donald Ballard, son of the “I AM” founders, who was indicted along with his parents for fraudulent use of the mails, had Dembowska conjunct his Pluto in the second house and aspecting Neptune, Hidalgo, Venus, Mercury, Sun, and Ascendant. Hidalgo was on the MC.
Then there are the murderers. John Dillinger, public enemy #1 for a time, had Dembowska in the 12th house square the MC. Hidalgo squared his Mars and Saturn opposed his Ascendant. Another murderer had Dembowska close to his MC exactly conjunct Pluto with Mars nine degrees away. His first murder was committed when progressed Mars caught up with progressed Dembowska. He also had Saturn exactly on his Ascendant for the murder, and Dudu (to be continued) was crossing Saturn Ascendant at the time of the murder. Another murderer (like the past one, associated with sex), had Dembowska conjunct the Sun with Jupiter in Aries opposite their midpoint. Another sex murderer had Saturn, Hidalgo, and Dembowska all in Scorpio a few degrees apart but not forming an exact midpoint. One last murderer had Dembowska square Mars, along with other aspects.
The last victim of John Gacey, the Chicago murderer of many young men, had Dembowska closely conjunct his natal Ascendant. If we block our own power, someone will take it and use it against us. One-ten combinations can express as either over-drive or self-blocking, and Dembowska seems to offer much the same potential. One of the early political activists, a member of the “Chicago Seven” who later joined the young guru Maharaj Ji and still later went “straight”, had Dembowska exactly opposite Uranus and more widely conjunct Hidalgo. His Ascendant is octile-trioctile the opposition. The pattern would be considered highly appropriate if Saturn were there in place of Dembowska and Hidalgo; the struggle between the conventional and the radical sides of the nature. It is common to express one and then go to the other extreme. Our goal is some kind of compromise so that we are not denying any part of our nature.
I’ll get past the “M”s some day (in Rodden’s book). Yes, Dembowska is prominent in my chart. Whenever we are drawn into concentration on a factor in astrology, it is because it has a message for us. I think both Hidalgo and Dembowska are reminding us that there are laws in the universe; that we must learn to use power wisely, within the limits of the laws. We may find they will give us clues to the subject’s father and other forms of authority figures. Both do in my chart, but there is always the danger of universalizing something that works for us personally but may not be a general principle. So, when you get the book, and after you have enjoyed some wonderful astrological humor, take a serious look at how you are handling your Dembowska.