Jesse Helms Meets Saturn
I’m sure that most of our readers know that Jesse Helms is a U.S. senator from North Carolina who is ranked as one of the most conservative members of Congress. His birth data was included in the Gauquelin Book of American Charts, and I have been waiting to see what would happen in his life in 1986. His conflict aspects involving Saturn suggested power struggles or problems with power-figures. I guessed that the patterns might be connected to trouble involving Reagan. As is often the case, the principles were right on, but the details were unanticipated. Even the conservative Wall Street Journal carried an editorial criticizing Helms for “Cozying up to dictators” as they expressed it.
What would we expect in the chart of a conservative besides a strong Saturn? An earth and water emphasis seems possible, though letter seven (which is air) and any of the transpersonal letters are often prominent in politicians. A strong Vesta is also possible, including an aspect to Saturn for the danger of alienation of associates. Probably a cardinal and/or fixed dilemma for the power-struggle which is an essential part of politics and which is really highlighted at the present time. Some fire-earth combinations would also strengthen the potential for power issues.
Helms has all of that. He has occupied earth signs in all the fire houses forming a wide grand trine and including the fire planet, Mars, and the earth asteroids Vesta and Ceres. The air houses are also all occupied but with water signs and one water planet to tilt the openness of air in the direction of security and the status quo or the past. The air signs are also toned down or inclined to be more critical when placed in the earth houses. Helms’ ninth house (beliefs, goals, ideals and judgments based on beliefs) is the most occupied in the chart, holding four planets and two asteroids; all but two in Virgo. The Virgo and Saturn in the ninth house tend toward either atheism or agnosticism or toward a very traditional religion. Helms fits the last. He is also very identified with his beliefs with Sagittarius rising, Jupiter (ruler of the Ascendant), Saturn (ruling the Capricorn in the first house), and Mars (natural ruler of letter one) all placed in the ninth house, plus Chiron in Aries. With that kind of identification with God we can get gurus, preachers, religious fanatics, etc. who feel that they have final truth, or we find people who feel that they are never good enough. As most of our readers know, my favorite motto is “I’ll be God tomorrow. Today it’s OK to be human, on the way to perfection, keeping the high aspirations but enjoying the journey toward them.”
Helms also has the Libra emphasis so often found in politicians, lawyers, consultants, etc., including his ninth house Jupiter-Saturn conjunction, the MC, and a Sun-north node of the Moon conjunction in the tenth house. Saturn conjunct Jupiter and in the ninth (Sagittarian) house points to a lesson in beliefs, values, ethics, etc. Once we learn the “rules of the game” with Saturn, it often marks a successful career as we take our place in society and handle our share of the power. If we fail to learn the limits, we are likely to overreach and to be put down in some way; the traditional association of Saturn with falling. If we lack faith and hold back too much, afraid to try what we could or should do, we are likely to be pushed into action by life circumstances. Charts with a fire-earth emphasis are more likely to overdrive. Charts with an air-water emphasis are more likely to hold back and stay in the head. But we are never certain what a person will do until we see the life events. Helms’ current events point to overdrive.
The aspects which pointed to major action and potential lessons in 1986 include Helms’ progressed Sun moving into a square to natal Saturn this fall following the movement of his progressed Moon through Libra where it has formed conjunctions to natal and progressed Saturn, and it moved into the tenth (Saturn) house. The aspects of both lights to Saturn are being added to the long-term conjunction of Saturn to the natal MC; in effect a double Saturn. Saturn moving into its own house, especially while on the angle within one degree, marks a major issue in the personal handling of power or dealing with power figures. Traditional astrology associates a tenth house Saturn with the potential to be a dictator, and the Sun natally in the tenth house along with progressed Mars and Jupiter there are additional keys to an intense concern with power. With his Virgo and Libra, Helms is a member of a democratic organization dependent on the votes of his constituents, but the chart certainly suggests that he would love to be a dictator. So his visits to and approval of Botha, leader in South Africa, and Pinochet, dictator of Chile, presumably give him some vicarious satisfaction. His hunger for power, shown also by progressed Sun now in Capricorn in the first (Aries) house, has led to increasing struggles with diplomats in the U.S. State Department and with fellow members of Congress.
Other aspects which repeat the theme of power struggles include Helms’ progressed Ascendant in a quincunx to natal Saturn starting in about July 1986, and progressed Ascendant in Washington, DC coming to a conjunction with Uranus in about September 1986, following the latter with a quincunx to MC and progressed Saturn in 1987. Progressed Saturn has remained in a quincunx to Uranus for years, so when the local Ascendant reached Uranus in early summer this year, it was connected into the aspect to Saturn on the MC. Shortly before the progressed Sun moved into Capricorn, it also began a trioctile to Neptune in Leo in the eighth house, symbolizing a challenge involving power (Sun, Capricorn, Leo, the Scorpio house all carrying that theme) and faith-beliefs-ethics (Neptune). In September 1986, the progressed Sun reaches the octile to natal Mercury for additional emphasis on thought, communication, the media, etc., but since Neptune has been square Mercury all of Helms’ life, it was part of the picture as soon as the Sun reached the aspect to Neptune. Neptune has also maintained a square to natal Moon in Taurus in the fifth house for still more emphasis on the fixed dilemma potential for power struggles. The Taurus-Scorpio opposition square the Scorpio house also fits Helms’ defense for the tobacco industry in his home state. In spite of the scientific evidence of the harm done by tobacco, the U.S. government continues to subsidize farmers who raise tobacco, and to subsidize the sale of the tobacco to other countries. An important part of the Taurus-Scorpio challenge involves learning moderation, being able to enjoy the world but mastering the appetites, conquering addictions.
At present, Helms is in a running battle with a variety of U.S. officials. He supported D’Aubuisson in El Salvador, the head of the right wing death squads who tortured and killed hundreds of people. He supported Marcos in the Philippines. Recently, he tried to block a tax treaty with China, and he has filibustered to prevent appointments of diplomats who were not sufficiently right wing to suit his taste. Even more recently he offered an amendment congratulating South Africa for its progress in abandoning apartheid while a majority of U.S. citizens were moving toward sanctions against the country, hoping that economic pressures might produce better treatment of the blacks. It remains an open question whether sanctions will help or hurt the blacks, but one has to question the intelligence of someone who can offer praise for a government which has put thousands in jail without charges or any legal recourse.
The Wall Street Journal said it well in an August editorial. “Like any American, Helms has every right to say what he wishes, where he wishes. If he thinks the crushing of opposition organizations, the torture of dissidents and the suppression of civil liberties are laudable measures, he is free to say so. But Helms isn’t just a loudmouthed private citizen or an innocuous politician. As the chief spokesman of the Senate subcommittee charged with handling Latin American matters, his words carry considerable official weight. As a result, his comments repeatedly have damaged U.S. interests and weakened efforts to democratize some of the worst regimes in the hemisphere.
“It’s time to stop tiptoeing around Helms’ Senate seniority. The bipartisan distaste for his outrageous behavior ought to lead senators to strip him of his chairmanship.”