Here in North Carolina where I live, the trial of John Edwards has all of the fascination of the OJ Simpson Trial but without the blood. This story has all of the classic ingredients of a Southern Gothic novel: an arrogant politician, a long-suffering wife dying of cancer, a mistress into “new agey” things like astrology and crystals and a reported $9,000 a month allowance.
John Edwards (see chart) is driven both by a sincere desire to help people and a fierce ambition combined with a brilliant intellect. But with four planets in Gemini, he has difficulty focusing. Gemini of course is the sign of the twins, the sign of communication. Gemini has a thirst for experience, an intense curiosity and a desire to digest as much information as possible. Gemini is the jack of all trades and extremely versatile; they are chameleons who can change their skins frequently and in fact they usually dislike becoming overly involved in one particular project.
Edwards was an extremely successful trial lawyer for 20 years, representing families and children before entering politics after the death of his son in 1996. Edwards’ progressed Sun, which delineates our evolving sense of Self, moved into Leo around that same time. Leo is the sign of the Ego, and the transition of the progressed sun from Cancer (where it had been for 30 years, being focused on family issues and the family business) into Leo, where one’s own expression in the world becomes the primary matter, was the perfect fuel to feed Edwards’s ambition.
The four planets in Gemini in the chart of John Edwards are the Sun, Mars and a conjunction of the Moon to Mercury. This is a powerful Geminian influence that is the fulcrum of his chart. Mars in Gemini shows that he is driven (Mars) to experience a variety of things and to learn (Gemini), but also that his physical energy (Mars) can be scattered and unfocused (Gemini). Moon in Gemini shows an emotional need (Moon) for variety and a dislike of convention (Gemini). There is also a need to talk and communicate one’s feelings and this can lead to an intellectualization (Gemini) of the feelings (Moon). Jupiter in Gemini suggests success (Jupiter) will come through communication (Gemini) but also that the Gemini tendency to multitask and seek variety becomes expanded (Jupiter).
Most importantly, the conjunction of Jupiter to the Moon indicates an individual who is on a mission (Jupiter). There is an expanded (Jupiter) sense of compassion and nurturing (Moon) and an inner sense of righteousness in one’s path. Jupiter is the King of the Gods after all, and can often bring the kind of self-righteousness we have seen with religious and political leaders whose Suns are connected to Jupiter.
Rising in Edward’s chart is the nurturing sign of Cancer and Mercury (thought process) is in that sign as well, showing that he is very concerned with taking care of others. Cancer is a “cardinal,” or active sign so the nurturing that it provides is very action-oriented: feeding the poor, organizing groups of social conscience. Cancer is also driven by love of family and very protective of their loved ones. It is no wonder that Edwards’s trial practice focused on families. With Mercury in Cancer his thinking process (Mercury) is colored by the emotional sensitivity of Cancer which gives him a strong sensitivity to the needs of others. However, he is likely to be somewhat moody and make important decisions based on the feeling of the day.
I don’t think there’s any doubt that the Edwards family was an important force in Edwards’s life. The fact that he had an affair doesn’t negate the powerful influence that Elizabeth Edwards had on John Edwards and his career. The ability to take on a variety of roles without feeling one has jeopardized one aspect of one’s life for another is a hallmark of the Geminian duality. There is often an amorality to this sign of which I myself, with Gemini rising, am well aware. Gemini is free from judgment, and assembles a different set of rules for different situations.
A challenging T-square in the chart of John Edwards may help to explain what drove him relentlessly towards the Presidency. Saturn and Neptune are conjunct in his chart in the fourth house, a configuration that combines the desire of Saturn to create form and achieve success with the urge of Neptune to dissolve form and withdraw into the world of spirit. There is a deep inner conflict here that is made stronger by the fact that both planets are retrograde and therefore operate a a more internal level. When Saturn is retrograde in a birthchart it also shows an individual who is self-critical and feels a lack of self-worth on a deep level. Ultimately the goal of this conjunction is to successfully unite the energy of the two planets by giving form to our dreams and ideals rather than dividing in conflict between these two directions. Uranus squares Saturn and Neptune as it does in the charts of many babyboomers, indicating a conflict with authority figures and conventional society (Saturn/Uranus) and between one’s ideals (Neptune) and the reality of change (Uranus).
The drama of John Edwards has been unfolding on the national stage for the past five years, although in North Carolina we witnessed it much earlier as he finally wrested a senate seat from the Republicans only to surrender it in his first failed run for the presidency. Now he is on trial for his life and his reputation as the jury considers whether his use of campaign funds to support his mistress violated campaign finance law.
The astrology does not look good for John Edwards. His progressed Midheaven, denoting his evolving career path, made an exact square to his natal Pluto (destruction and regeneration) last year and is moving towards the same aspect to Pluto in the progressed chart. This type of planetary cycle is virtually always a harbinger of some type of major change in one’s work or home life, and usually both because they are so interconnected. It can also mean the total annhilation of one way of life, since Pluto represents endings and the destruction of an old way of life so that something new may grow in its place.
Still, Edwards’ fate may turn on a dime depending on the jury’s decision. And in the midst of the intensity of the progressed Midheaven/Pluto dynamic, Jupiter’s optimism and good fortune is smiling on Edwards with conjunction to his natal Midheaven as the jury deliberates, potentially opening doors to sympathetic supporters. However, a square from Jupiter to his ascendant (his public persona) will annoy those on the jury who consider him arrogant and condescending.
The astrological chips are up in the air and it’s impossible to predict the outcome.