Robert Packwood Bows Out
Bob Packwood was forced to resign during his fifth term as Senator from Oregon when increasing revelations about his sexual harassment of women were compounded by information that he had solicited a lobbyist seeking a job for his estranged wife in order to reduce his alimony payments, and he had tried to destroy incriminating entries in his diary. Packwood had been under investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee for three years, and in the past, he might have succeeded in negotiating his way through the crisis. But the travesty of Anita Hill’s treatment by an all-male panel in the hearings on Thomas as a candidate for Supreme Court Judge, along with the presence of more women members of the Senate, led to the inclusion of a woman on the Ethics Committee. Barbara Mikulski, a Democratic senator from Maryland, became one of Packwood’s harshest critics. When the Committee recommended expulsion from the Senate, Packwood resigned on September 7. He is expected to leave at the end of the month. He has been replaced as chairman of his committees, can continue to vote, but cannot speak from the floor of the Senate.
Packwood is a good example of the complexity of human nature, since he has supported legislation to protect women’s rights during his 25 years in office while simultaneously making unwanted sexual advances to many different women. In the end, 19 women testified to outrageous behavior which was mostly (if not always) carried out when Packwood was drunk. The most damaging was the charge of a former staff woman who was only 17 years old at the time. Packwood might still have survived the challenge had he responded with his former talent for compromise, but he was defiant and confrontational, trying to bully his way through the situation and alienating even his friends.
I am using data for Packwood which came from Julienne Mullette and she is not sure of the source, so it is somewhat tentative but it certainly fits the situation. Assuming the data is accurate, Packwood was born on September 11, 1932 at 8 A.M. in Portland, OR.
Readers will remember that through much of 1931 and 1932 the cardinal dilemma was emphasized with Uranus in Aries squaring Pluto in Cancer and Saturn in Capricorn. In much of 1931, the lunar nodes were in Aries/Libra to intensify the configuration. Several powerful people, both famous and infamous, were born during those years, including Gorbachev, Yeltsin, Ross Perot, and Jim Jones of Jonestown fame. Packwood’s chart fills in the Libra corner with his East Point in 19 Libra. Additional cardinal emphasis is provided by the MC in 16 Cancer, Ceres in 12 Capricorn, and Mars in 24 Cancer. Astrologers have sometimes been told that they can ignore the slow, outer planets in progressions and just note the changing aspects of the faster planets. But the slow planets which hold progressed aspects for many years are often the basic keys to the fundamental personality of the individual. For much of his life, Packwood had P Pluto conjunct Mars and square Uranus. That single square is actually a full cardinal cross since the houses bring in the other two cardinal signs, the 7th house carrying the Libra meaning and the 10th house signifying the Capricorn principle. Power was obviously a major issue for Packwood with Aries in the 7th house afraid of losing the power, Mars (natural 1st house ruler), Venus (Ascendant ruler), and Pluto (ruler of the 1st house Scorpio) in the 10th house wanting to hold personal power over the law, while Pluto (as a key to sharing pleasure and power) in the 10th house in addition to the conflict aspects to Saturn, warn that at times it is necessary to share power with peers. The various forms of the cardinal dilemma can include freedom versus closeness, dominance versus dependency, and/or dominance versus sharing the power and responsibility. An article in the Los Angeles Times on September 9, 1995 commented on the irony of Packwood’s final disgrace. He had been admired for his skill at “reading” the Senate and finding compromises when others saw only confrontation, but when his own reputation was at stake, he seemed unable to understand the feelings of his former friends or the outrage of women in general.
Packwood’s stellium in Virgo in the 11th house fits his long career in the legislature, which is usually associated with the principle of Aquarius. It is also common to find some variety of sexual discomfort with a Virgo emphasis. Virgo represents the potential of enormous skill in one’s work but may be less skilled in the emotional realm. Possible problems may stem from so much devotion to the job that personal relationships are neglected. Skill in any area is gained by attention and practice. Alternately, problems may result from the displacement of the critical work attitude into the relationships, focusing on flaws and trying to change others. Projection is also common when one is attracted to another person who is overdoing Virgo or doing it in the wrong place. Making a career out of sex through prostitution is another possibility. Packwood’s mixing of sex and work involved his forcing his sexual advances on his fellow workers: women staff workers or volunteers. Each of the twelve sides of life has many appropriate forms of manifestation, but they can also be overdone, blocked, projected, and/or displaced, any of which will lead to problems.
In addition to his strong Aquarian house emphasis, Packwood’s Moon in Aquarius forms a grand air trine to his Libra Ascendant and Vesta in Gemini for verbal facility and persuasive ability. As was said at the beginning, Packwood is a complex individual. The air shows a genuine appreciation for equalitarian principles while the 10th house Venus, Mars and Pluto in addition to Saturn in Capricorn show the attraction to power. The secret to a successful life is knowing when to do each of our 12 sides of life and avoiding overdoing any at the expense of others.
According to news reports, Packwood was a heavy drinker and was usually drunk when he made his unwanted advances. Alcohol is one of many forms of escapism when life is unfulfilling. We may read romantic fiction, watch TV, daydream, or just sleep a lot in “garden variety” escapism. Drugs, chronic illness, and psychosis are more drastic ways to run away when our ideals are out of reach. Sometimes, the ideals are just impossibly high and we need to accept our human limits. Sometimes we just need to extend our timetable—to give ourselves more time to reach our ideals and to remember to enjoy the journey. Packwood’s Neptune-Jupiter conjunction can be a signal of impossible ideals. Pope John Paul II has this conjunction in Leo. Some of the “baby boomers” born in the mid-1940s who have it in Libra are looking for the “ideal mate” or the “ideal marriage.” In Virgo, the tendency is to want the “perfect” job or to do one’s work perfectly, or to try to “save” the world through one’s work, or to make work an “ultimate value” in life. But Packwood also had several rulers of his 5th and 8th houses connected to his work. Saturn, co-ruler of Aquarius in the 5th house, is in Capricorn, key to one’s career. Jupiter and Neptune, co-rulers of Pisces in the 5th house, are in Virgo, key to the details of the job. The Sun, natural ruler of letter five, is also in Virgo. Venus, ruler of the 8th house, is in the 10th house of career, and Mercury, ruler of Gemini in the 8th house, is in Virgo.
Letter five in our alphabet of astrology is a key to our capacity for self-esteem, for our ability to pour out our creative power to the world and to get back a positive response. The bottom line is our ability to love and to accept love. At the physical level, letter five includes the orgasm and the ability to procreate children. Letter eight shows our capacity to share possessions, pleasures, and power with a mate, so it includes sex for mutual pleasure. I mentioned above that Packwood sought sexual gratification in inappropriate ways from fellow workers.
It is the association of keys to idealism with love and sex which warn that the expectations in that area might be too high. When our expectations are frustrated, escapism may offer an outlet. Alcohol in moderation is a socially acceptable way to temporarily forget one’s frustrations. Chiron (which is like Jupiter) is in the 8th house to repeat the association of ideals and pleasure which can include sex. Juno (an alternate Pluto) in the 12th house repeats the message. The displacement of one’s search for the Absolute into any fragment of life, whether a job, a relationship, sensual pleasure, or self-esteem, inevitably produces frustration as no fragment of life can produce permanent, total fulfillment.
Alcoholics Anonymous has, until recently, offered the most successful techniques for helping chronic alcoholics stop drinking. Their primary key to success seems to have been their ability to encourage faith in God along with acceptance of one’s personal human frailty. A relatively new technique is being tested in Topeka, KS and is proving spectacularly successful with long-term hospitalized, chronic alcoholics. Brain wave studies showed that these mostly male, military veterans were deficient in the alpha-theta range of brain waves, from around 6 to 12 cycles per second (CPS). This range is present when people are just relaxing, letting their minds wander without any special focus. Below that range, we go to sleep. Above it, we concentrate and apply our minds. The alcoholics apparently had never learned to just relax and let life happen. When they were taught with biofeedback equipment to produce alpha and theta level brain waves, they lost their need to drink. In my interpretation, “ordinary” life could be accepted and they did not have to run away when it failed to live up to their vision of how it ought to be. If Packwood would like to reduce his need for alcohol and perhaps also for sex at inappropriate times or with uninterested women, perhaps he could consider a visit to Topeka.
When Packwood’s chart is progressed to the date of his resignation from the Senate, it offers a salutary lesson to traditional astrologers who assume that Venus and Jupiter aspects “have to be good.” P Jupiter had been conjunct N Sun for several years, and P MC was conjunct both of them. P Venus was on the Ascendant along with Juno. But every astrological principle can be manifested in many different details, depending on our choices, which are mostly determined by subconscious habits. Jupiter describes our faith. Jupiter on the Sun shows our faith (or lack of it) in our own creative power, our capacity to influence others, to be the leader and star. Packwood’s actions were surprisingly arrogant and unwise considering his previously demonstrated abilities. He acted like someone who overestimated his personal power—his right to do what he pleased. Senator Mikulski said she pushed for his expulsion when he showed no signs of remorse for what he had done. The MC is the same principle as Saturn. It symbolizes the law, executive powers, including our power if we have any in our society, and the consequences of how we have handled the law in the past. Saturn or MC aspects can mark either a rise to or a fall from power, depending on our own past actions.
Venus symbolizes our pleasure, which may be sought in physical sensuality or in the company of other people or in the creation of beauty, etc. Both Venus and Juno, especially in Libra, tend to seek companions for pleasure, so Packwood’s desire for close relationships is obvious in the chart, though his ways of trying to satisfy the desire were disastrous. Remember, the Ascendant carries the same meaning as Mars—”I have the right and the power to get what I want on my terms.” But when our desires involve others, we have to compromise.
One of Packwood’s long-term aspects was a double quincunx (yod) from P Uranus to N Juno and his local (Washington, DC) Ascendant in 20 Scorpio. The quincunx suggests a constant need to “do it better,” which can lead to continuing changes of details or to frequent separations as the individual abandons one action or person or whatever in hopes of finding something better. A long-term yod into the 7th or 8th house shows the danger of many temporary relationships, but it is quite possible to maintain one lasting marriage while dealing with many people in one’s work. At the time of his resignation, Packwood’s P Sun had been activating the yod for almost two years, moving over his local Ascendant and quincunx P Uranus. The pattern fits his prominence and the power issue, but, as with the Venus and Jupiter aspects, the outcome was more infamy than fame, in addition to a loss of power due to his previous abuse of it. I was especially interested to note that P Sun was on the midpoint of P Saturn/P south lunar node. As I have written before, I watch that midpoint in either its natal or progressed position as a key to major lessons. The Sun marks our growth potential. I’m afraid that Packwood is not enjoying his current phase of forced growth.
In addition to the almost lifetime square of P Pluto to Uranus, P Pluto has held a lifetime octile to Neptune. Any conflict aspect between a key to idealism (all forms of 9 or 12) and a key to the limits of what is possible (any form of earth) shows the danger of expecting too much and reminds us to enjoy the journey, not wait till we have reached the goal to be happy.
Of course, fire wants it now! Jupiter on the Sun, the Ascendant, long-term aspects to anything in Aries, etc., can add to the impatience. The theme of personal will fighting the limits of personal will is shown by P Mars in the last degree of Leo quincunx Saturn in the last degree of Capricorn. P Mars is also square P Ascendant, which is just about to enter Sagittarius. Packwood will have more freedom when he leaves the Senate with a reasonably nice retirement income of $89,000 a year. He could travel, lecture, write, return to private law practice, and maybe rethink his values and ethics. I’m afraid I would not bet on the latter in light of his handling of the charges against him. His uncustomary alienation of his Senate friends fits his strong aspects involving Sun, Mars, Jupiter (fire factors by their own nature), plus Venus in Leo and Uranus in Aries. The Ascendant in Sagittarius may simply add to his feeling that he has a right to what he wants. It might also mean continued legal issues. Current reports suggest that more serious charges might be brought against Packwood involving the handling of PAC money in a deal with Phil Gramm.
In cases of the alienation of associates, I also expect to find Vesta aspects, and Packwood certainly has them. P Vesta is quincunx his Antivertex and his P local MC went over the AV and through the quincunx to P Vesta while the charges were being investigated. P Vesta is also square Packwood’s local MC in Washington and octile his natal MC. Vesta as a key to tunnel vision warns of the danger of ignoring the effects of one’s actions on others if we get too focused on our immediate goals.
As usual, there are so many appropriate asteroids in Packwood’s chart that I can only include a few examples. Geisha was named for the Japanese women whose job was (still is?) to please men. N Geisha on Packwood’s N Sun is pretty explicit about what he wanted in women. P Geisha stayed closely conjunct P Juno for years and P Venus recently caught up to them on his Ascendant as Packwood faced the accusations of 19 women to whom he had made unwanted sexual advances. N Asmodeus, the “demon of lust,” in 6 Virgo is conjunct Jupiter (ultimate values) and Bellona (a war goddess), while P Asmodeus is trioctile Roberts, one of Packwood’s name asteroids. P Cupido is currently opposite P Vesta and moving into a T-square to P Karma in 3 Pisces and N Mercury and Urania (a female Uranus) in 3 Virgo. P Karma in the 5th house is also holding a yod to N Venus and P Eros, which is in 2 Libra, and a second yod which includes P Eros and N Aletheia (truth) in 2 Taurus. Themis (divine justice) in 1 Capricorn forms another yod with the Antivertex and P Vesta, while P Themis in 13 Capricorn squares the Ascendant, P Venus, and P Juno.
P Roberts has been retrograding over Aletheia in the 7th house as the truth about his past relationships has been revealed. It has also been octile/trioctile the lunar nodes. N Roberta was in 15 Cancer. If Packwood was born less than two minutes before the even hour, he would have had one of his name asteroids on his MC. N Roberts, the other asteroid containing his name, was just under 13 Taurus in an exact quincunx to his Ascendant which would still be there if his birth time were pushed back between one and two minutes. P Roberta in 26 Cancer is opposite P Ceres as he leaves his career and home in Washington, DC. It has also been octile Packwood’s 9th house cusp as the Senate Ethics Committee evaluated his moral and legal situation.
There is always so much more that might be said, but I know that eyes start glazing over when lists of asteroid aspects get too long. Just a few more that are incredibly appropriate—P Beer conjunct Sun, P Jupiter and P MC seems right on for someone whose career was smashed by his inability to manage alcohol. P Beer is also quincunx N Damocles in 18 Aquarius—the guy with the sword hung over his head. P Dionysus, a mythical figure also associated with a downfall after excessive overindulgence, opposes P Mars and is trioctile the cluster on the Ascendant. P Icarus, noted for a crash landing after overreach, is in 25 Sagittarius quincunx P Roberta and P Chiron and P Moon—another yod. P Circe (who turned men into pigs) has been on the 8th house cusp as Packwood has faced his handling of sex and power. P Washingtonia is opposite P Chiron and P Moon will have also come into orb as Packwood leaves his home in Washington. There is no way this universe is ruled by chance. Character creates destiny.