When Ted Kennedy died I felt a great sadness; his death seemed to signal the passing of an era. I grew up in a staunchly Democratic family for whom social justice was very important. The Kennedys fought for social justice in the national political arena, and we loved them dearly for that.
Here is a beginning study of Ted Kennedy’s natal chart (below), originally undertaken after his death and recently updated to reflect my evolving knowledge and understanding of traditional natal astrology.
Mr. Kennedy was strongly melancholic in temperament (earth element, cold-dry). Briefly, here’s the method:
1) Asc, Capricorn: Cold-dry (CD). Square from Venus, naturally cold/most = C+ D-
2) Lord Asc, Saturn: CD planet in CD sign = C+ D+
3) Sun, by season: Winter (CM) in water sign = C+ M+
4) Moon, by phase: Melancholic (third quarter), CD in CD sign = C+ D+
5) Lord of Geniture, Saturn: C+ D+ (as above)
If there were other tight aspects (2-3 degrees at most) we would modify further, but the only aspect that concerns us here is Venus square the Asc.
Notice how very cold and dry the temperament is when adding all the pieces together! There is no heat at all, although Moon is just out of its choleric phase (hot-dry). Cold-dry gets extra emphasis because Saturn plays the double role of Lord Asc and Lord of the Geniture (‘LoG’, planet with the most essential dignities). The only moisture in the mix comes from Mr. Kennedy’s winter Sun in watery Pisces.
John Frawley teaches that the key motivation for melancholics is ‘to have and to hold’: comfort, security, and stability are priorities. Mr. Kennedy was blessed to have been born into a prominent family well capable of satisfying these needs and setting him up for success. Melancholics also ponder things: their way to God is through contemplation. ‘Weighty’ is a good descriptive term for this type.
Moon and Mercury
Mr. Kennedy’s Moon is melancholic, though just past full: it’s as if we can still feel the heat that was so recently present. The Moon has dignity (triplicity) as ruler of the earth signs at night. Moon disposes to Mercury, peregrine in Aquarius. Moon, cold and dry by itself, is not in tune with hot-moist Mercury but will defer to it.
Mercury is conjunct Lord 10, Mars, one testimony that career was a major priority for Mr. Kennedy.
What’s most striking about the Moon is its very close applying conjunction with Neptune. In traditional astrology the outer planets are treated like fixed stars in their influence. Neptune signifies the vast and turbulent ocean of human feelings and desires. This is a powerful affliction for the Moon, as if it is shipwrecked in a storm at sea!
"Mr. Kennedy’s life was burdened with personal tragedy," wrote The New York Times just after his death. The Moon-Neptune conjunction has a fated feel, especially given that it is also the anareta (‘killing planet’). Consider that Mr. Kennedy outlived all but one of his siblings, two of whom were assassinated in view of the whole world. Nephew John also died in the bloom of adulthood. And, of course, there is Chappaquiddick: to this day no one knows for sure what happened the night Mary Jo Kopechne died. Untimely deaths, all.
Moon also plays the role of Lord 7, significator of Mr. Kennedy’s marriage and other partnerships. Because he was born near a full moon both Fortuna (‘Super Moon’) and Spirit (‘Super Sun ‘) are just under four degrees from the Descendant, placing additional emphasis on this part of the chart. Engaging with others will be another strong focus for him.
Sun conjunct Fomalhaut
Fomalhaut is one of the stars that, in ancient times, marked the change of seasons. As the ‘watcher of the South’ it was associated with the winter solstice. I find it interesting that although it is a prominent star, it is not royal, just as Mr. Kennedy was not the most famous of his brothers. As I understand it, Fomalhaut is associated with Christian values. I find this fitting in the sense that Mr. Kennedy devoted his working life to improving the lives of the poor and underprivileged in American society.
Saturn as Lord of the Geniture
Mr. Kennedy was born with Saturn essentially strong and accidentally well placed in the first house. Saturn is both Lord Asc and LoG—clearly the greatest asset in his chart. Because Saturn also rules the next sign, Aquarius, by progression it maintains major essential dignity throughout his life. Saturn also disposes of both Mercury and Mars, giving it additional influence in the internal makeup.
Mr. Kennedy put this strong Saturn to work building an impressive legacy during his long tenure in the US Senate, including “signature laws and reforms on civil rights, the judiciary, refugees, social welfare, foreign policy, voting rights, job training, public education and the minimum wage” (The New York Times, 8/27/09).
When studying any birth chart it’s important to note the affinities and antagonisms among the planets as indicated by the receptions. Everyone has these; it’s just the human condition.
Mr. Kennedy’s Saturn (‘me’) has mostly antagonism towards the Moon (also ‘me’, and Lord 7). By progression this improves, but once in Aquarius Saturn (‘me’) will bear a steady hatred for the Sun (also ‘me’, and Lord 8).
Saturn and Mars reinforce each other with positive mutual reception: Saturn exalts Mars, which loves it in return.
Jupiter, on the other hand, hates Saturn but loves the Sun, and the feelings are mutual in each case. These mixed feelings and contradictions will play themselves out internally and externally throughout the lifetime. Notice that having some essentially strong planets does not mean that all things will go smoothly!
In the next post, we’ll begin looking at major events in Mr. Kennedy’s life through progressions and returns, beginning with Chappaquiddick in 1969.
For more information about Ted Kennedy:
Or in Wikipedia:
Above Photo By Ted_Kennedy,_official_photo_portrait.jpg: United States Senatederivative work: Tktru (talk) - Ted_Kennedy,_official_photo_portrait.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7163275