20-Jan-2017, 16:41 UT/GMT
|Explanations of the symbols|
|Chart of the moment|
At the heart of our galaxy, the Milky Way, is the Galactic Centre - a super-massive black hole (or a “giant cosmic broom”) positioned in late Sagittarius – which plays a key role in chart signatures of people who spill the beans on organisations and governments, as many famous cases attest
A whistleblower is a person “who exposes misconduct, alleged dishonest or illegal activity occurring in an organisation. The alleged misconduct may be…a violation of a law, rule, regulation and/or a direct threat to public interest, such as fraud, health and safety violations, and corruption. Whistleblowers may make their allegations internally (…to other people within the accused organisation) or externally (to regulators, law enforcement agencies, to the media…). Whistleblowers frequently face reprisal, sometimes at the hands of the organisation or group which they have accused, sometimes from related organisations, and sometimes under law”.1
Research into the most infamous and noteworthy whistleblowers2 shows that the majority of them have planets and points in their natal charts which connect to the Galactic Centre (GC), the black hole at the centre of our Milky Way galaxy. This can’t be a surprise because Sagittarius, seeker of truth, guardian of the moral high ground and the sign the GC falls in, is surely a most appropriate signature for the whistleblower. It would seem, as the case studies will show, that individuals whose charts connect strongly to the Galactic Centre (GC) can have an impact on the world that reaches far beyond the personal when given access to information that others would prefer to keep hidden and when they have the means and motivation to share that information on a huge scale.
This hypothesis is borne out by the presence of transits to natal planets and points at the GC during the time of their whistleblowing activities.
Coleen Rowley3 is a former FBI agent who in May 2002, following the 9/11 attacks, submitted a paper to FBI Director Robert Mueller, spelling out how personnel at FBI HQ in Washington DC had failed to act on information from a field office regarding suspected terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui. Eventually, Mueller acknowledged that the 9/11 Twin Towers attacks might have been prevented had FBI headquarters followed through on the intelligence on Moussaoui. Rowley went on to testify in front of the Senate and to the 9/11 Commission, which was set up in November 2002 to look into the circumstances related to 9/11, including mishandling of information leading up to the attacks.
Born on 20 December 1954, Rowley has Mercury at 25° Sag 38’ and Sun at 28° Sag 19’. The GC sits between those planets at 26° Sag 14’. In May 2002, when she first blew the whistle to the FBI Director, she had transiting Mars in Gemini (the twins) opposing natal Sun, Mercury and GC. This transit suggests mental stress, an agitated mind, a time of high energy needing a release, challenging information, conflicts of interests and the urge to take action. From late summer 2002 through to spring 2003, Rowley had three opposition transits to Sun-Mercury-GC from Saturn in Gemini. This must have been a mentally exhausting and overwhelming time, when her ideas were challenged and questioned, but a time during which she was forced to re-define her opinions and beliefs and set boundaries around where she was prepared to compromise and where she was not. Following Rowley’s revelations and the 9/11 Commission, FBI Director Mueller created a new Office of Intelligence at the FBI with a focus on counterterrorism. Rowley, along with fellow whistleblowers Sherron Watkins and Cynthia Cooper4, was named ‘Person of the Year 2002’ by Time magazine. Rowley is now a political activist and blogger.
Sherron Watkins5 was a Vice-President at Enron Corporation who sent a memo to Enron’s CEO/Chairman in August 2001 outlining her concerns about accounting irregularities, stating that she was “incredibly nervous that we will implode in a wave of accounting scandals”. She went on to testify about her role in the Enron fraud to the US House of Representatives and the Senate in early 2002, but was criticised because her concerns did not reach the public arena for five months after she sent the internal memo.
Born on 28 August 1959, Watkins has Mars at 24° Virgo 43’, squaring the GC at 26° Sag 16’. Transiting Mars in Sagittarius made three exact Squares to her natal Mars in 2001, the first in April 2001 and the final one in August 2001, the month she made her CEO aware of Enron’s accounting irregularities. This was a long, slow transit due to Mars turning retrograde and suggests crisis and the desire to take action.
What is remarkable is that the chart for Enron6 shows Mars at 26° Gem 04’, squaring Watkins’ natal Mars in Virgo, meaning that Watkins and the business shared a close Mars connection to the GC. Enron’s Mars in particular is in an exact opposition alignment with the GC at 26° Sag 48’. It’s not surprising then, that Watkins’ actions brought much aggro and tension to Enron and that she played a key role in the events leading to its collapse.
Transiting Mars in Sagittarius opposed Enron’s Mars three times in 2001, very closely mirroring the timing of Watkins’ own Mars transit, with the final hit in August, when she made her communication to the CEO. Of relevance is that both Enron and Watkins have Mars in Mercury-ruled signs and it was those tiny details she spotted in the accounts that led to such a dramatic outcome when transiting Mars in fiery, judgmental Sagittarius crossed the GC three times. Transiting Mars in Sagittarius, whilst activating Watkins’ and Enron’s charts, demanded right action; and because the transit also carried with it the transpersonal, bigger picture energies of the GC, it seems that Watkins felt the irresistible pull to do the right thing - to act as Enron’s moral gauge and never mind the personal consequences. The whole fraud blew up and Enron filed for bankruptcy protection in December 2001, the biggest bankruptcy in US history. Watkins is currently an author and speaker on ethical leadership, an appropriate profession for Mars in Virgo square the GC.
These two examples show how whistleblowing can make corrupt or incompetent organisations clean up their act. Like the Galactic Centre itself, which some scientists think is akin to a giant cosmic broom releasing destructive energy before it can blow up and destroy us, perhaps these whistleblowers (by acting as conduits for the Galactic Centre’s energies) were making their contribution to the balance of energy down here on Earth.
But if Watkins’ and Rowley’s stories had happy endings of sorts - both went on to forge new careers - other whistleblowers were not so lucky.
Mark Whitacre7 was a PhD scientist and senior manager at Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), an agricultural/food processing corporation. He also secretly worked with the FBI as an informant, and in 1992 blew the whistle on a price-fixing cartel at ADM. Information he fed to the FBI over the following three years led to Federal charges of more than US$100 million, plus hundreds of millions of dollars paid out to plaintiffs and customers.
Born 1 May 1957, Whitacre has Mars at 28° Gem 09’ opposing the GC at 26° Sag 16’. In January 1992, the year he blew the whistle, transiting Mars in Sagittarius opposed his natal Mars and crossed the GC. As with Watkins and Rowley, a Mars transit crossing the GC appears to be the trigger for blowing the whistle. While specific dates in 1992 for Whitacre’s actions aren’t documented, other significant transits to his Mars and the GC that year include the Nodes crossing Mars and GC in August (action resulting from significant meetings) and a square from Jupiter in Virgo in September (the desire to fight for what is right, serving the higher good). However, Whitacre himself was later convicted of tax evasion and fraud. Ironically, the custodial sentence he received was longer than the sentences given to those he’d informed upon.
Karen Silkwood8 was the first and best known nuclear power whistleblower. In 1974, whilst working at Kerr-McGee Corporation's Cimarron plutonium-fuel plant, she reported safety concerns to her union; and in September of that year, testified to the Atomic Energy Commission (an agency of the United States government) about safety breaches. During the following two months she gathered more evidence, and in November decided to go public. On 13 November she got into her car to drive to a meeting with a New York Times reporter and an official of her union's national office. Later that evening she was found dead in her car, which had run off the road. So, she never made the meeting and no trace was found of the files of evidence of unsafe practices at the plant that she was believed to have had with her. It is widely speculated that foul play led to her death at the wheel, but nothing has ever been proven and her death was ruled an accident.
Silkwood’s natal chart shows the Mean Nodes at the GC; North Node at 26° Gem 49’ and South Node at 26° Sag 49’. The GC in 1946, the year of her birth, was 26° Sag 07’. Silkwood’s nodal placement suggests that it was her karma to expose truths particularly as her North Node falls in the 9th house of truth, wisdom and morality. But the Gemini North Node warns of over-confidence in one’s version of truth and the lesson of using discrimination in how that truth is shared with the world. Linked to the GC, this placement speaks of the dangers of ‘playing God’ or of offending ‘God’ (in this case the human ‘gods’ of governments and corporations). It would appear that Silkwood, a regular employee, paid the ultimate price for trying to force the establishment to do the right thing. The ‘god-like’ quality of the astrological GC means that when mere mortals are pulled into its influence and choose to release information to the many that is meant only for the few, the powers-that-be may seek to destroy that information and/or its holder. Great caution is therefore advised when powerful truth is in one’s hands.
As in the other examples, we see transiting Mars contacts to the GC degrees for significant dates. In September 1974, when she testified to the Atomic Energy Commission, Mars in Virgo squared Silkwood’s Nodes (conflict arising out of the dissemination of information). On 14 November, the day after she died, transiting Mars in Scorpio made an exact sesquiquadrate to her North Node in Gemini and a semi-square to her South Node in Sagittarius. This transit suggests an upset or imbalance (a car overturned on a journey to tell the truth seems an appropriate if extreme image) and experiencing the consequences of one’s choices. During mid-to-late 1974, Silkwood was also going through her first Saturn Return; that key rite of passage transit which brings adult responsibility. She died before the transit was over. Transiting Neptune also made a series of squares to her natal Mercury in 1974 with the last exact hit in November. This transit is a difficult one for making rational decisions and suggests deception at play in communication.
For some whistleblowers, their stories are not yet over. Wikileaks’ Julian Assange9 has Venus at 25° Gemini 28’ in the 7th house square Pluto at 27° Virgo 09’ in the 11th house. The GC at 26° Sag 27’ completes a tight mutable t-square, with Pluto at its axis.
Between 2 and 4 December 2010 transiting Mars in Sagittarius crossed the GC and squared Assange’s Venus and Pluto; and on 7 December he was remanded in custody in London after being denied bail at a hearing considering his extradition to Sweden for investigation into sexual assault allegations. It seems that Mars hitting his Venus-Pluto-GC t-square (control and manipulation in relationships, love/hate relationships, meeting one’s demons through relationship, playing God in relationships) triggered the transit of Uranus in Pisces to his Venus and Pluto which began in 2009 and went on until 2011.
WikiLeaks, Assange’s whistleblowing website, was launched on 4 October 2006, the year that transiting Pluto in Sagittarius made three oppositions to Assange’s Venus and three conjunctions to the GC. Transiting Pluto square natal Pluto followed with three exact hits in 2007. During those long Pluto transits, he posted huge amounts of data on WikiLeaks exposing government and corporate wrongdoing, but it wasn’t until WikiLeaks began publishing documents supplied by Chelsea Manning in 2010 and 2011 that WikiLeaks and Assange became household names.
Chelsea Manning10 (born Bradley Manning) was a US army intelligence analyst who in January 2010 started releasing the largest set of classified documents ever, including the Afghanistan war logs, the Iraq war logs and the Guantánamo files. Born 17 December 1987 in Crescent, Oklahoma, her birth chart (time unknown) shows a stellium in Sagittarius with Mercury at 22° 08’, Saturn at 23° 47’, Sun at 25° 15’ and Uranus at 26° 48’. The GC falls between the Sun and Uranus at 26° 41’.
These chart placements in Sagittarius mark Manning out as a righteous, outspoken idealist; and with the Sun (identity, life goals) sandwiched between status quo-preserving Saturn and shocking, change-initiating Uranus, the question of who she is and what she should do with her life, must have been a great source of tension and is reflected in her decision to identify herself as a female. It also describes how, possibly because the GC falls nearer to Uranus than to Saturn, she opted to defy authority and the law and put classified information into the public realm, like Prometheus (aka Uranus) stealing fire from the Gods and giving it to Man. That Chiron opposes the Sagittarius stellium, highlights her maverick nature, but also singles her out as a victim, suggesting how profoundly her psyche has been wounded by the knowledge she has carried.
Between spring 2008 and spring 2010 transiting Saturn in Virgo opposed transiting Uranus in Pisces. This moving opposition squared Manning’s stellium in Sagittarius, forming a dynamic t-square by transit and activating the GC and her natal Sun-Saturn-Uranus connection. This suggests a time of doubt, fear and restlessness, but with the overwhelming urge to assert the ego and to break out from restriction and upset the status quo. She made the decision to release to WikiLeaks the powerful classified information her job gave her access to. She had reached her personal event horizon and once she crossed that line there was no turning back. Her decision was to change her life forever. WikiLeaks posted the first of her leaked information in February 2010 and Manning was arrested on 27 May 2010. This was the very day that Uranus left Pisces and passed over the Aries Point, 0° Aries, where there is a sudden rush of energy and where the private becomes public and the personal becomes political. Manning was convicted of espionage and other offences in 2013 and sentenced to 35 years’ imprisonment.
Edward Snowden11 was a contractor to the National Security Agency (NSA) when he turned whistleblower. Snowden has prominent Gemini-Sagittarius oppositions in his natal chart that are well within orb of the GC. Mars 24° Gem 37’, North Node 24° Gem 56’ and Sun 29° Gem 25’ all sit in his 1st house of identity, determining how he projects his ego out into the world. Opposing them from the 7th house (how he is received) are Neptune at 27° Sag 48’, South Node at 24° Sag 56’ and the GC at 26° Sag 37’.
In May 2013, Snowden flew to Hong Kong and in early June 2013, released classified material on top secret NSA programmes including their surveillance programme to The Guardian and The Washington Post. In the first half of June, transiting Jupiter conjoined his Mars, North Node and Sun and opposed his Neptune, South Node and the GC. This transit suggests idealism, confidence in pursuing goals, drive and energy and significant and fortuitous meetings and communications. It also warns of deceiving oneself or being deceived, and of the danger of arrogance and overconfidence overclouding judgement. On 9 June Snowden made his identity known and on 14 June the U.S. Department of Justice charged him with espionage and theft of government property. His passport was revoked, but on 23 June he flew to Moscow where after thirty-nine days in limbo at the airport he was granted asylum and now lives in an undisclosed location in Russia.
In January 2014, with Secondary Progressed Moon in Sagittarius contacting his Sagittarius and Gemini planets along with the Nodes and the GC, the US attorney general indicated that Snowden could return to the US under negotiated terms. And that same month, Snowden conducted his first TV interview. In April 2014 he spoke on video during the Russian President's live annual Q&A exchange with the public. His close connection with Vladimir Putin is not surprising given that Putin has his Mars at the GC at 27° Sag, sitting almost exactly on Snowden’s Neptune, suggesting an idealistic relationship between the two men, but one where either or both of them may not be entirely transparent about the motivations for their actions.
On his reasons for blowing the whistle Snowden said, “in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission's already accomplished. I already won…I didn't want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself. All I wanted was for the public to be able to have a say in how they are governed”.12
Whether Snowden won or not, history will decide, but as of now he is both a hero and a dangerous criminal, depending on one’s perspective. His natal chart suggests a lot of ego involved in how he felt about the powerful information he held in his hands (Sun and Mars in Gemini in the 1st house) and with these opposed by the GC he must have felt like he was holding the power of some god, especially as the Nodes - karma - form part of this complex. All it took was that Jupiter in Gemini transit to set it off.
With his planets in Gemini (‘the trickster’) opposed by Neptune in Sag in the 7th, there comes a warning of deception within relationships and around the sharing of information. And indeed, his girlfriend Lindsay Mills alleged he hadn’t told her of what he was about to do when he took that fateful flight to Hong Kong. Channelling Snowden’s Neptune in the 7th conjunct South Node and the GC, she wrote in her blog, “my world has opened and closed all at once. Leaving me lost at sea without a compass. Surely there will be villainous pirates, distracting mermaids, and tides of change in this new open water chapter of my journey. But at the moment all I can feel is alone”.13
These examples show the undeniable influence of the Galactic Centre in the natal chart of the whistleblowers profiled and how - when the GC and the planets/points it contacts receive a transit - it is a powerful trigger for their whistleblowing activities. Indeed, these whistleblowers (to the powers-that-be) are playing God, and having no right to do so (according to the ‘gods’ of corporations and governments), they risk punishment.
This theft of power, theft of information, emerges as a major theme of the astrological GC. The GC also reminds us that everything - all that is created and destroyed - comes from the same source. And from this vast perspective, power and knowledge belong to everyone and no one; and the rules around who can hold power and information and who can’t are merely earthly constructs. And this is why, just like the event horizon at the black hole at the Galactic Centre that protects its cosmic secrets, once a whistleblower crosses that forbidden line and releases information meant to be hidden, there is no turning back.
The information takes on a life of its own and can both destroy or redeem anyone who touches it, as the power of the cosmic broom works to readjust and rebalance the world. The GC, being a black hole and in Sagittarius, may also serve to explain why whistleblowers do what they do. Perhaps it’s something to do with an irresistible pull to do the right thing for humanity - and hang the personal consequences.
On 5 Feb 1996, after being fired from the Brown & Williamson tobacco corporation, Jeffrey Wigand14 revealed that it had manipulated nicotine levels to make smokers become addicted. He received death threats for his troubles. He was born 17 Dec 1942 in New York with Sun at 25° Sag conjunct GC. On the day he blew the whistle, Venus in Pisces was exactly square his Sun-GC, with the longer transit of Saturn in Pisces square the Sun-GC, exact in March 1996.
W. Mark Felt15 was the FBI agent known as ‘Deep Throat’, a key figure in the 1972 Watergate mystery. Born 17 Aug 1913, Twin Falls, Idaho, Felt had North Node at 24° Pisces square the GC. From the day of the break-in, 17 June 1972, until the FBI investigation was mostly completed in June 1973, Felt was the key control point for FBI information. In Jan/Feb 1972, Jupiter in Sagittarius crossed the GC and squared his Nodal axis; and between April 1972 and end July 1972, Pluto retrograded back to late Virgo although it didn’t leave 29° degrees. When Felt finally revealed his identity on 31 May 2005, transiting Pluto in Sagittarius was squaring his Nodes and conjoining the GC.
Frank Serpico16 was the NYPD officer who in 1967 reported fellow officers for bribery and other related offences. He was the first NYPD officer to come forward and openly testify. Born 14 April 1936, Brooklyn, he has Jupiter at 24° Sag conjunct the GC. Big transits were in play when he blew the whistle: transiting Saturn square Jupiter and GC in April 1966 through Jan 1967; transiting Chiron square Jupiter and GC in April 1966 through Feb 1967, and transiting Uranus square Jupiter and GC in December 1966 through Sept 1967.
Tony Russo17, along with colleague Daniel Ellsberg18, caused a national controversy in 1971 when they released a top-secret Pentagon study of US government decision-making in relation to the Vietnam War to The New York Times and other newspapers. Russo has the North Node at 28° Sagittarius, Jupiter at 20° Sagittarius and Chiron at 23° Gemini. He had a Jupiter return in Dec 1971 and Jupiter crossed his Chiron, Nodes and GC in Jan 1972. Ellsberg has Moon at 22° Sagittarius, with transiting Jupiter conjunct his Moon and the GC in Jan 1972.
Jan Karski19 was a Polish World War II resistance movement activist. In 1942 and 1943 he reported to the Polish government in exile and to the Western Allies on the situation in German-occupied Poland, particularly on the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto, and the Nazi extermination camps. He had Saturn at 23° Gemini opposition GC at 25° Sagittarius. In 1942, Jupiter in Gemini was conjunct his Saturn and opposing the GC conferring a strong sense of purpose; and he had his Saturn return through 1943.
Ryszard Jerzy Kukliński20, born 13 June 1930 in Warsaw, was a former Polish colonel and Cold War spy for NATO who passed top secret Warsaw Pact documents to the CIA between 1972 and 1981. He has Mercury at 20° Gemini and Jupiter at 2° Cancer. The GC at 26° Sag opposes those two planets and sits at their midpoint. In 1972 Jupiter in Sagittarius opposed his Mercury and Jupiter, crossing the GC along the way, triggering his spying activities. In 1980, transiting Neptune opposed his Mercury, hitting the GC in 1982. In 1981 he was spirited away to the USA when he faced imminent danger of discovery. His sentence in absentia of 25 years in prison, imposed by Poland, was cancelled in 1995 because he had been acting under circumstances that warranted a higher need.
Remarkably, his pardon came the year when Jupiter opposed his Mercury and Jupiter, the same transit under which he started spying.
Notes and references:
2 Fifteen [fourteen used – ed] whistleblowers were researched, randomly chosen from an online list of top whistleblowers. Only one does not have a planet or the Nodes in aspect to the GC (Linda Tripp, who exposed the Clinton-Lewinsky affair) and one was not included because no birth data was available (Cynthia Cooper). Birth times were not available for most of the examples, so angles have been excluded from the consideration. Of the remaining thirteen, eleven have planets and/or points at three degrees or less from the GC. Daniel Ellsberg has a wider orb with Moon at 22° Sagittarius, four degrees from the GC; and Ryszard Jerzy Kukliński has Mercury at 20° Gemini, an almost five degree orb from the GC. All thirteen had significant transits to their GC-connected planets and/or points during or significantly close to the dates of key events of their whistle-blowing. Naturally, there are other chart factors and transits that describe their whistleblowing, but for the purposes of brevity just the planets, points and transits relating to late mutable signs (conjunctions, oppositions, squares etc. to the GC) are included in this study.
4 Cynthia Cooper not profiled because birth data not known
6 Chart Source: http://www.astro.com/astro-databank/Business:_Enron
Additional research and collaboration: Rod Chang and Mechthild ‘Nusse’ Belton. Rod is the Principal of The Academy of Astrology, operating in Taiwan, Hong Kong and China and speaks regularly at international astrology conferences. Nusse is a long-time student of astrology.
Charts provided by the Astrological Journal
Galactic Centre, artistic impression: By NASA/JPL-Caltech/ESO/R. Hurt (http://www.eso.org/public/images/eso1339g/) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Galactic Centre: By 2MASS/G. Kopan, R. Hurt [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Coleen Rowley: By Slowking (Own work) [GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
Mark Whitacre: By Jacob Willis (http://www.markwhitacre.com/media.php) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Karen Silkwood poster: By The Romero Institute (Photo of a painted poster) Julian Assange: By David G Silvers. [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Chelsea Manning: By United States Army [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Edward Snowden: Laura Poitras / Praxis Films [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
First published in: The Astrological Journal, 2016
Mandi Lockley is a London-based astrologer and author who has written before for the Astrological Journal as well as for numerous websites, and in 2012 she published the e-book Saturn in Scorpio: Your Guide Through the Dark. She also writes short fiction under the name Mandi S. Lockley and her stories have appeared in anthologies and online. Her blog is at www.mandilockley.blogspot.co.uk.
© Mandi Lockley - published by The Astrological Journal / The Astrological Association of Great Britain 2016
The Astrological Association is a registered charity dedicated to the support and promotion of astrology in all its branches. For over fifty years, it has been serving the astrological community through informing and bringing together astrologers from all over the world, via its stable of publications, its annual Conference, Kepler Research Day and other occasional events, and its support of local astrological groups. It also represents the interests of astrologers generally, responding when appropriate to issues raised within the media.
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20-Jan-2017, 16:41 UT/GMT
|Explanations of the symbols|
|Chart of the moment|