Ted Kennedy - Chappaquiddick

Ted Kennedy was 37 years old at the time of the Chappaquiddick incident. This sounds young--to my ears, at least. But consider that by 1969 both of his more famous brothers had been assassinated; misfortune was no stranger. Whatever actually happened that night leading to Mary Jo Kopechne's death, Mr. Kennedy was haunted by the incident for the rest of his life.

In this natal study, as in others I've posted, I apply techniques learned in my apprenticeship to examine known events in the life of famous individuals. The goal is to become familiar with how the planets show us what is happening at key times: marriage, childbirth, career success, illness, etc., and finally death. The more charts we study, the better we’ll get at spotting major events when looking ahead.


This material is probably best suited for those already possessing some knowledge of astrology, but I hope even beginners might benefit from reading it. All of the charts referenced appear in the gallery below (click to enlarge).


Major life events are triggered by progressions; this is the first round of charts to examine. The focus is on six key points: progressed Ascendant (Asc), Midheaven (MC), Sun, Moon, Part of Fortune (Fortuna, the lunar Arabic Part), and Part of Spirit (the solar Arabic Part). We then confirm events using solar and lunar returns for the year and month in question. Derived lunar returns, cast from the solar return rather than the birth chart, provide additional confirming evidence.


For progression of known events we can use either the first of the year or the date of the event itself. I like using January 1 because it allows me to see where Moon, Fortuna, and Spirit will be heading over the course of a full year.


Progression to January 1, 1969


The chart is not included because progressions are not to be read as charts, per se.  If you have astrology software, choose the setting 'Naibod in RA.'

  • Progressed Asc opposes Alphard, heart of the Hydra, a fixed star of Venus and Saturn nature signifying strong passions—the kind that get us into trouble if we pursue them.
  • Progressed MC is 12 Sag. This MC is conjunct the antiscion of Kennedy’s natal Part of Necessity, the Mercury Part, putting it in the spotlight for this year. As John Frawley teaches, Necessity is about having to make a difficult choice between things that are mutually exclusive. Do I want the cow, or the money? I can’t have both. Whatever we might believe about Chappaquiddick, clearly there were horrible choices to make that night and in the days that followed.
  • Progressed Moon (22 Cap) will cross natal Saturn this year (29 Cap). Moon is natal Lord 7, so this can signify both ‘other person’ meeting death (Saturn) or death (Moon as anareta) touching the native (Saturn as Lord Asc).
  • Prog Fortuna at 10 Sag is about to conjunct antiscion natal Necessity (11 Sag). By year’s end it will oppose antiscion natal Spirit (23 Gemini). Symbolically this is like a progressed Full Moon.
  • Progressed Spirit starts at 13.41 Taurus. As it moves backwards through the zodiac by progression, it will oppose natal MC (6 Scorpio) and then the antiscia of natal Lord 10, Mars (2 Scorpio).


Solar Return Feb 21, 1969 (01.52 Capricorn Asc)


The first thing I noticed here is the close conjunction between Mars (natal Lord 3/10) and Neptune, the Earth-shaker, at 28 Scorpio. The two are closely square Mr. Kennedy’s natal Mars-Mercury conjunction at 28 Aquarius. Without question, Chappaquiddick was a life-altering experience for Mr. Kennedy.

  • Notice that the SR MC, 27.13, picks up antiscion Sun very closely (27.28 Libra). This puts the Sun ('me') in a major spotlight.
  • SR Moon, natal and SR Lord 7, is newly exalted at 0.41 Taurus and sits at the bottom of the chart. Sometimes exaltation can signify death, in the sense that the person has been lifted up and out of the Earth plane.
  • Natal Arc Fortuna (Fortuna in its natal position relative to the SR Asc/Dsc axis) is 5.45 Cancer, about a degree from natal Part of Spirit. This is like a New Moon, signifying endings and beginnings.
  • SR and natal Lord Asc, Saturn (21.57 Aries), is conjunct the natal Moon-Neptune conjunction by antiscion.
  • It seems important that this SR Asc picks up the natal Part of Love, the Venus part—perhaps simply because it involves a woman. Kennedy denied having had any romantic or sexual relationship with Ms. Kopechne.
  • SR Lord 10, Venus, is conjunct natal Uranus at 16 Aries: career suffers a sudden and unexpected blow.  Mr. Kennedy's career potential was eclipsed as a result of Chappaquiddick; he would never rise to the office of president as his brother did.
  • Notice that Pluto is conjunct cusp 9, opposing cusp 3. The third house—routine travels—is a repeated theme in these charts, fitting for an incident involving routine travel by car.


Lunar Return July 18, 1969 (29 Gemini Asc)


This is the very date of Chappaquiddick.  The Moon, which in a lunar return does not move, sits at the bottom of this chart just as it did in the solar return. This is an unfortunate place for natal Lord 7 to be: buried, as it were.

  • LR Lord 7, Jupiter, is newly out of detriment at 0 Libra. Again, this just-increased dignity can signify death. Note that Lord 7 is conjunct Uranus here: this can be understood as a shocking disruption.
  • LR Lord Asc is closely conjunct natal Pluto. Pluto signifies something hellish, as this experience surely must have been.
  • Antiscion LR Sun, 4.31 Gem, squares the LR MC/IC axis, showing us a crisis or crux situation. Antiscion Sun also applies to oppose LR Mars on Graffias, a star of Mars-Saturn nature in the Scorpio constellation.
  • Natal Arc Fortuna is 3.21 Capricorn, conjunct the natal Part of Love.
  • The LR cusp 8, 19 Cap, picks up the natal Part of Necessity (highlighted in the progression, as we saw earlier).


Derived Lunar Return, July 7, 1969 (22 Scorpio Asc)


Look at DLR Lord Asc and Lord 7: they are applying to opposition. Lord Asc Mars is in station and conjunct natal Saturn by antiscion. Lord 7 Venus is just out of sign, suffering a big drop in dignity.  This is always important to note and here, signifies the death of the other person.

  • Natal Arc Fortuna is on Algol. DLR MC is 5.56 Virgo, putting natal Moon-Neptune conjunction in a major spotlight.
  • Sun is conjunct Canopus, in the Ship constellation (Argus), having to do with steering a vessel.
  • DLR cusp 3 is conjunct natal Saturn, relevant for reasons noted earlier.
  • DLR Cusp 12 picks up natal Lord 10 Mars by antiscion: career meets self-undoing. DLR Lord 10, Mercury, is about to lose dignity at 29 Gemini.


For more information about Chappaquiddick: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chappaquiddick_incident


In the next post, we’ll look back at Mr. Kennedy’s election to the Senate in 1962. 


Above Photo: Chappaquiddick_bridge-By Arwcheek Public Domain, httpscommons.wikimedia.org