The Astrology of
The Kennedy Clan
The next son was Robert Kennedy. He ran for President in 1968 but was gunned down on June 6. Ted Kennedy would have been a viable candidate for the 1972 election except that his political future was derailed on the night of July 18, 1969 when he drove into the river at Chappaquiddik, and his passenger Mary Jo Kopechne drowned. Ted’s questionable response to the incident put him out of the running for president, but he has remained a solid Senator ever since.
Ted was the first Kennedy to publicly mention a curse. Shortly after Chappaquiddick, and in response to a reporter’s question before a live audience, he wondered “whether some awful curse did actually hang over all the Kennedys.” Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis certainly felt some kind of weird curse followed her around, though in her later years she would grab onto a genetic explanation. The Kennedys surely had an abundance of DRD4 7R, the so-called “thrill-seeking gene”, which scientists had discovered in people who took huge risks, and received some kind of pleasure from their actions.
Joe Kennedy Sr. may have wondered about a curse, even as early as 1919 when his first daughter Rosemary was born slightly retarded. In 1941 he secretly sent her off to get a lobotomy, but the operation was botched and made her condition much worse. She spent the rest of her life in an institution. Then in 1948, four years after Joe Jr.’s death, his favorite daughter Kathleen also perished in a plane crash. What was going on here? Three of his four oldest children were either dead or incapacitated, and John suffered continuously from back problems and mysterious ailments.
ceremony witnessed by only their closest family.” I’ve rectified the ceremony’s culmination to 9:49 am which puts 29 Scorpio Rising and Venus at 28 Scorpio on the Ascendant.
The critical 29th degree often denotes tragedy and misfortune. It takes on the more spooky overtones of a curse by being placed in the occult sign of Scorpio. The Midheaven is 15 Virgo which is very close to Joe’s Sun at 14 Virgo. We will see how this horoscope reflects the Kennedy character, and through the transits and progressions, the successes and tragedies that befell them as well. This horoscope also reveals why the Kennedy clan should have such a powerful influence over American politics and the national psyche.
Venus on the Ascendant is a primary influence. Venus here describes the Kennedy charm, the money, and the beautiful women who graced everything the Kennedys did. Venus forms an exact square to Juno, the marriage asteroid, which is placed in late Leo and conjunct the royal, first-magnitude star Regulus. Juno’s alignment with Regulus enhances the prestige and status of the Kennedy marriage. Juno here reflects the marriage of Joe and Rose as the union of two powerful Irish families, making this new dynasty akin to royalty. When deploying Juno as an indicator for committed relationships, Venus takes on her more natural role as lover. Venus in Scorpio is mostly interested in sexual affairs. With Venus square Juno, we have a celestial recipe for marital infidelities.
Joseph P. Kennedy’s role as family patriarch did not quash his interest in the opposite sex. Many Kennedy biographies have documented his numerous indiscretions, including a lengthy affair with Hollywood’s number one glamor girl, Gloria Swanson. His two oldest sons, Joe Jr. and John likewise played out this Don Juan side of the family myth by getting into meaningless, serial affairs as soon as they were able. And as we know, Jack carried this tendency right through his days in the White House when he was supposedly fulfilling the idyllic American dream with his wife Jackie. Ted’s experience with Mary Jo Kopechne was a nightmare that changed his philandering ways. Venus rising in the Kennedy Clan horoscope represents the tendency of the Kennedy men to sexual promiscuity, while Juno represents the ever-loyal wife who maintains a dignified sense of decorum.
Planets that are angular, that is, that are conjunct the Ascendant, Midheaven, Descendant or Imum Coeli (the fourth house cusp), tend to dominate the horoscope. The only other natal planet near an angle is Chiron, which is conjunct the IC, the foundation of the chart. Chiron, popularly known as the “Wounded Healer”, is found in Pisces, the sign of faith, suffering, and self-sacrifice. The Kennedy marriage was, of course, based on a deep belief in Catholicism, and all the family members were indoctrinated in the Catholic culture. Joe was more of an agnostic, but Rose was an extremely devoted Catholic.
Chiron here represents a spiritual wounding that forms the foundation of the Kennedy family. Chiron in Pisces is the eternal quest for spiritual communion, and the horrified feeling that no one out there is listening or is even there. What kind of God would allow Joe Jr. to die while performing such a patriotic gesture? Joe Jr. died on August 12, 1944 when transiting Chiron has reached the Midheaven of the Kennedy Clan horoscope, and opposed its own natal place. This first spiritual wounding seared the Kennedy psyche. Years later, when JFK was assassinated, Chiron was making its first return to its natal position.
The Sun in Libra and the Moon in Taurus are both ruled by Venus, putting additional emphasis on this planet. The Sun, representing the Kennedy men, and especially the patriarch Joe, is well-aspected with a trine to the Jupiter-Uranus conjunction. This Sun to Jupiter-Uranus highlights the intellectual, social, and progressive ideas that the Kennedy men espoused and helped shape their political philosophy. The Sun is near the eleventh house cusp where it absorbs a more cosmopolitan and even humanitarian perspective.
The Kennedy Legacy
So far, the planets discussed in the Kennedy marriage horoscope describe family traits that can be rather narrowly circumscribed within the immediate marriage, and the first generation offspring. What makes this horoscope the foundation of a family dynasty that would shape not only Joe Kennedy’s personal business world, but the American political landscape for generations to come is the Saturn-Pluto conjunction. This relatively rare outer planet conjunction occurs once every 33 years, and the ine during the Kennedy marriage is the only conjunction in American history to have taken place in the sign of Cancer. Saturn-Pluto aspects, and especially the conjunction, have to do with structuring (Saturn) of power (Pluto). Pluto’s association with death and rebirth modulates Saturn in a way that entire cultural structures are destroyed and reconstituted under their combined influence. Saturn-Pluto conjunctions often correspond to the outbreak of major wars, and in 1914 it brought World War I.
In the Kennedy marriage horoscope this powerful conjunction is found in the eighth house of legacies, death, and the occult. It’s extra potent due to the tightness of the orb (only 0'04 apart), and receives an energetic boost by being trine Mars and Mercury. This combination describes an overwhelming drive to achieve financial and political power. It’s incredibly ambitious, and tends to be amoral in the sense that the ends justify the means. This is the Kennedy legacy. All the boys were steeped in the drive to be the best, to be number one. Any Kennedy child who came in second was sent away from the dinner table to eat in isolation, and contemplate how to do better next time.
This aspect describes Joe Kennedy’s relentless ambition to make a lot of money, which he did through various stock manipulations verging on criminal behavior, although at the time it was merely considered immoral and wasn’t illegal. By the end of World War II Joe Kennedy had amassed some $200 million. The Kennedy children would never have to worry about having enough money. The eighth house is the house of inheritance, and the Saturn-Pluto conjunction here provided a deep financial reservoir for generations of Kennedys.
Tracking the Curse
Joseph and Rose had nine children, including four boys. Joe Jr. and Jack (John F.) were the eldest and in a constant state of testing each other. Their rivalry continued into World War II when they were both seeking heroic exploits to further their political ambitions after the war. On August 1, 1943 Jack’s PT109 was cut in half by a Japanese destroyer. Several of his men were killed, and Jack and the survivors swam some three miles to a tiny, nearby island. The feat was difficult for Jack with his bad back, but he also managed to pull one of the injured, who was hanging onto a piece of wood, by a tow rope clenched between his teeth. After six days Kennedy’s crew was finally rescued, and Jack himself was lauded for his bravery and courage.
In Edward Klein’s book “The Kennedy Curse”, much of the rationale for the many mind boggling calamities experienced by the Kennedys is couched in psychological
“His worldly success was so assured and inevitable that his death seems to have cut into the natural order of things” wrote John F. Kennedy in 1944. His elder brother Joseph had just died in a plane crash while delivering a payload of explosives larger than anything yet dropped. The secret mission, code named Operation Aphrodite, was a high-risk venture, and one that young Joe himself cheerfully estimated his chances for survival were no better than 50-50.
Joe’s untimely death was a major family tragedy, but the incident may also have robbed America of a future president. The Kennedy patriarch Joe Sr. had recently given up on his own ambitions for political success, and turned to promoting his sons. When Joe Jr. died, Joe Sr. was crushed, and all his immense financial and political influence turned to John. As we all know, John F. Kennedy was eventually elected President in 1960 and was assassinated on November 22, 1963.
Originally publiashed as "The Astrology of the Kennedy Curse"
in Dell Horoscope magazine by Michael O’Reilly
What had been a family affair turned into an American myth by the time JFK met his fate in Dallas. Bobby’s and Ted’s misfortunes reinforced the national impression that the Kennedys were a star-crossed family. Naturally Jacqueline worried that her son John F. Kennedy Jr. would fall victim to the Kennedy curse, but she died before he crashed into the sea on July 16, 1999. Edward Klein’s 2003 book “The Kennedy Curse” attributes John Jr.’s fatal airplane crash not so much to some supernatural curse, but to a psychological pattern of self-defeating behavior. He writes that “The Kennedy Curse is the result of the destructive collision between the Kennedys’ fantasy of omnipotence - an unremitting desire to get away with things that other people cannot - and the cold, hard realities of life.”
The Sun’s closest aspect is the trine to Jupiter in the third house of information. This aspect underscores the Kennedy intellect, but also the feeling of being someone special, of being above the common people. This is the aristocratic side of the Kennedy family, and the marriage itself was meant to advance Joe socially and impress his associates. Marrying Rose Fitzgerald, the Mayor’s daughter, was quite a catch. It made Joe feel like he was suddenly someone to reckon with, and all the Kennedy men felt the same, like they were lucky, favored by providence. The Sun-Jupiter trine carries this feeling of privilege, and also the feeling that they could get away with anything.
The third house is also the house of travel and siblings. The Jupiter-Uranus conjunction in the third house points to a fascination with flying since it takes place in the inventive, air sign of Aquarius. Although this conjunction trines the Sun, it forms a sharp square to Mercury and Mars in Scorpio, and a wide opposition to Neptune. The stressed third house points to the intense sibling rivalry between the Kennedy boys, especially between Joe Jr. and John. Also, this T-square configuration is the source of much of the Kennedys’ compulsive attraction to danger. Many of the Kennedy tragedies involve flying accidents, especially when the pilot was taking unnecessary risks, the kind that most people would avoid. All the flying tragedies took place while this T-square was being activated.
The tightest aspect within this configuration is Mercury square Uranus. Mercury is the ruler of the Midheaven, and consequently the fate of the Kennedy clan. It’s placed very near the twelfth house cusp, the house of self-undoing. The hasty, often faulty judgment that goes with a Mercury-Uranus square is responsible for many of the bad choices made, especially when it involves flying. Mars is also closely tied into this configuration by its conjunction with Mercury. The Mercury-Mars conjunction is known for its quick tongue and hot temper, something that Joe was especially well-known for, but shared by many of the Kennedys.
The foundation horoscope for the Kennedy Clan is set for the marriage of Joseph P. Kennedy and Rosemary Fitzgerald on October 7, 1914
The Kennedy legacy deeply resonates with the American psyche. While historians and psychologists can talk about how they personify the American Dream, astrologers can see the connection by comparing the Kennedy Clan (marriage) horoscope to the U.S. national horoscope. Although no consensus has been reached on which U.S. horoscope works best, I prefer the Scorpio Rising chart, which is set for 2:21 pm. Scorpio is the rising sign for both the U.S. and the Kennedy Clan horoscope, and both describe the American Dream of being able to transform oneself from misery and poverty to fame and wealth. The U.S. Scorpio Rising horoscope also describes the profound mystery of the Presidential Death cycle, especially since the chart ruler Mars is found in the eighth house of death.
Everyone in the Kennedy family was ecstatic, with the notable exception of Joe Jr. who had been seriously one-upped by his younger brother. The war was drawing to a close, and Joe had yet to demonstrate his courage and mettle. Undoubtedly, this was a motivating factor for his decision to fly the secret mission on a plane loaded with volatile explosives on August 12, 1944.
Some of the key transits in effect when Joe went down have already been mentioned, but to re-cap, they include transiting Chiron conjunct the Kennedy Clan Midheaven, and transiting Neptune square the K.C. Saturn-Pluto. Another major transit in effect was the K.C. Saturn Return. Saturn takes some 29 ½ years to make one complete cycle, and its return to its natal position is always important, marking a turning point from youth to maturity and responsibility. When the natal Saturn is under stressful aspects, this life transition is usually difficult. For the Kennedy patriarch and the rest of the Kennedys, it established the beginning of the Kennedy Curse. This fateful tragedy took the strongest, boldest, and most promising Kennedy, and rested Jack with the family’s and the nation’s future.
While major transits to the Kennedy Clan chart show a significant part of the picture, the progressed horoscope also reflects the timing of the really big events. When progressions come due, a significant transit will activate the underlying stresses. The progressed chart is based on the symbolic projection of one day equals one year after birth. It’s an internal clock that sounds off when external transits go by. Progressions involving the angles are most important, and in both Joe’s and Kathleen’s deaths we can see this unfold. In August 1944 when Joe crashed, some 30 years after the original Kennedy marriage, the progressed Midheaven had advanced 30 degrees, and was forming an exact inconjunction (150 degree aspect) to natal Chiron. Recall that at the same time transiting Chiron was at the K.C. Midheaven. This double Chiron influence, seen both by progression and by transit, set up the Kennedy Curse.
In May 1948 when Kathleen and Fitzwilliam died, Mars had progressed to 29 degrees Scorpio, and was exactly conjunct the K.C. Ascendant. On May 12, the day they died, the progressed Moon was exactly, to-the-minute opposite natal Uranus in the third house of travel. The progressed Moon opposite Uranus would be a huge red flag to any astrologer monitoring this horoscope. The previous few years Mars had progressed into the Venus-Juno square, bringing tremendous conflict about the underlying tension between the institution of marriage and the passions of the heart. While Rose could say nothing to John about his skirt-chasing habits, she vented on Kathleen in a most destructive way. The astrology reflects the psychology.
The 29 degree Scorpio Ascendant plays a significant role in John F. Kennedy’s story as well. He was elected President on November 8, 1960 as the K.C. Sun had progressed to 29 Scorpio. This was a great family success, as befits the astrological symbolism of the progressed Sun to the Ascendant. At the same time Juno had progressed to form an exact conjunction with the Midheaven, and John’s wife Jackie, and their supposedly ideal marriage, was an integral part of the success story. They presented a youthful, vigorous, and glamorous couple as America’s new leadership. They were the toast of the nation, and the culmination of Joseph Kennedy’s dream and relentless ambition.
The Kennedy Family’s Saturn-Pluto conjunction happens to be exactly conjunct the U.S. Venus, and both are found in the eighth house. In the U.S. horoscope Venus in Cancer is the love for family life, and this is true no matter which horoscope one uses based on the Fourth of July. In the Scorpio Rising chart, this Venus is in the eighth house of shared financial assets, which is also corporate assets, and financial campaign contributions. Because of this connection to the U.S. Venus, Joe Kennedy could tune into the economic forces that shaped the business world, and he took advantage of that in a big way. Then, through his accumulated assets, he began to shape the political scene. The Kennedy family became a political and financial aristocracy; they are the personification of the Americans’ love of family and pursuit of wealth and influence.
Another significant connection between the Kennedy Clan chart and the U.S. horoscope is the Mercury-Mars conjunction. It’s in Scorpio, and very close to the U.S. Scorpio Ascendant. The Kennedy men, symbolized by this Mars, help shape the national image. The Kennedy men, by virtue of their boldness, charming good looks, and aristocratic flair, is how many Americans like to project themselves across the international order. Mars in Scorpio is competent, powerful, and decisive, and individually the Kennedys were adept at expressing these traits.
The Kennedy Sun at 13 Libra is conjunct the U.S. Saturn, reflecting how the Kennedy Clan would become an American institution, as symbolized by Saturn. The Kennedy Clan would also shape America’s political leadership, since the Sun also squares the U.S. Sun. From these various connections, one can see that the Kennedys achieved their personal power by depending on the American society, which in turn was emotionally touched and shaped by the Kennedys.
One more strong connection to the U.S. horoscope is Ceres, which in the Kennedy marriage horoscope is found at 17 Aquarius. This degree is opposite the U.S. Midheaven, and conjunct the U.S. fourth house cusp. Ceres, the largest of the four major asteroids, is usually associated with the care-taking principle, especially as a parent to a child. In Aquarius, Ceres receives a broader, humanitarian definition, one that expands the care-taking function to include the larger society. Ceres is in the third house of opinions and intellectual perspectives, and helps determine the Kennedy political philosophy to include a kind of noblesse oblige, and a liberal policy of social welfare.
Regarding the Kennedy Curse, Ceres has a more difficult or profound side, and that is Ceres as governor of life’s major passages. Astrologers will note that whenever someone dies in a family, Ceres is activated by a hard outer planet transit or progression. Ceres rules the grieving process, and when she is under difficult aspects natally, one can expect periodic losses that leave one feeling deeply traumatized and saddened. Ceres forms an exact tri-octile (135 degree aspect, also known as the sesqui-square) to the Saturn-Pluto conjunction, and further defines the strange energies and processes associated with that major conjunction. Also, Ceres is closely enmeshed in the squares between Jupiter-Uranus and Mercury-Mars which helps explain the inherent danger in flying.
The eighth house has more metaphysical meanings, which may be related to some supernatural curse, or perhaps to a higher calling. Some astrologers say the ancestors speak through the individuals with eighth house planets, that the eighth house is the meeting place of the personal and the collective. One Jungian astrologer writes that eighth house people “are exceptionally susceptible to being taken over by the ancestors and thus are looking for ways to protect themselves from being absorbed by the unconscious.” Saturn-Pluto in the eighth house is about the powerful barriers between the individual and the collective, and brings a deep fear and anxiety about death and the unknown. The ego, which is the boundary between the individual self and the transcendant self, must “undergo a complete dissolve at some stage in life before one is allowed, or allows oneself rather, to acknowledge the depth of power which lies in the realm of the ancestors.”
From this one gets the impression that each of the Kennedys has access to the ancestral power that could influence the broader socio-political environment. Obtaining that power meant getting over oneself, getting over the sense of specialness that blocked the channel for the larger collective. The process involves the psychological death of the ego in order to identify with a higher good. For many of the Kennedys, the process was filled with anxiety and fear, but each of them in their own way had to face death at one level or another.
To be the best, which each was compelled to do, they had to identify with the empowering ancestral or collective force. Some survived, others didn’t. Each of the Kennedy tragedies came about during major transits or progressions to this Saturn-Pluto conjunction in the eighth house of death. For example, Joe Jr. died as transiting Neptune was at 2 degrees Libra, and forming an exact square to this Saturn-Pluto. JFK was elected President when the progressed Sun was conjunct the Kennedy Clan Ascendant. He was assassinated three years later when the progressed Sun had advanced three degrees to form an inconjunction (150 degree aspect) to Saturn-Pluto.
At the time, the Sun, Jupiter and Pluto were forming a triple conjunction in Leo, which was exactly square the Kennedy Clan Mercury-Mars. Yes, it was traumatic, but it made young Jack a war hero, as befits the exalted nature of the Sun-Jupiter-Pluto vibration. Back home in Hyannis the Kennedy family was jubilant, not only because Jack was safe, but also because he vindicated the family name. Joseph Sr. had been roundly criticized for his political stand of being weak on Nazism and an isolationist. Jack showed that the Kennedys were genuine war heroes.
The Moon represents women in a horoscope, and particularly the mother. The Moon in the Kennedy Clan chart is found in traditional, fixed sign of Taurus. This Moon is inflexible, determined, and solid, but under great stress by squaring Juno and opposing Venus. The Moon opposite Venus represents the tension between woman as mother and woman as lover, and with Juno squaring the two, the issue of marriage
The Founding Marriage
While Klein cites the historical, psychological, and genetic factors that shaped the Kennedy Curse, the astrological influences may also provide some insights. The two perspectives, that is the planetary view and the more scientific explanations, are not necessarily in conflict. To the contrary, they substantiate and reinforce each other, especially if one looks at the foundation horoscope for the Kennedy dynasty.
Joseph P. Kennedy and Rosemary Fitzgerald were married on October 7, 1914. Various sources indicate they said their “I do”s between 9:00 and 10:00 am, but probably closer to 10:00 am since a mass began at 9:00 am. From Jay Mulraney’s “Kennedy Weddings, A Family Album” we read that “Joe and Rose were married after a 9:00 am Mass in the private chapel of Boston’s William Cardinal O’Connell in a
terms. Neither Joseph nor Rose were home very often, with the general care of the children left to nannies and other servants. Joseph was the classic absentee father, while Rose’s immersion in strict Catholicism left it’s mark on all of the children. By his personal example, Joseph encouraged his children to philander and use any means available to get ahead, while Rose warned of the severe spiritual consequences of doing anything against the Catholic principles.
Although he doesn’t say it outright, Klein suggests that Kathleen’s death in 1948 may have been due to a major guilt trip placed on her by Rose. Other biographical accounts likewise describe the intense confrontation between Rose and Kathleen only days before her accident. Rose was already incensed at Kathleen for marrying outside the Catholic faith a few years earlier, and Kathleen was threatened by the Irish Catholic hierarchy with ex-communication, which amounts to eternal damnation.
After her first husband died in the war, killed by a sniper’s bullet, Kathleen took up with Peter Fitzwilliam, an Irish war hero, but also a divorced man. When Kathleen broke the news to the family that she intended to marry Fitzwilliam, Rose threatened to disown her, to cut off her inheritance and to never see her again. Marrying a divorced man was strictly against the Catholic faith. Kathleen was left cowering and in tears, but with the blessing of her father Joseph, went on with her plans to vacation in Cannes with Fitzwilliam. Still, Kathleen felt belittled by Rose, worthless, and perhaps on a subconscious level as if death would be a good punishment for her sins.
On May 12, 1948 Kathleen and Fitzwilliam were stopping over near a Parisian airport to service their plane. The weather had turned bad, but the two lovers insisted on flying south. By late afternoon as they were passing over the Rhone Valley, they struggled in vain against treacherous winds and rain squalls. The plane whipped around in cross-currents and went down, slamming into the side of a mountain. Villagers in the nearby town of Privas heard the explosion, and retrieved the bodies the next morning.
As mentioned earlier, when John was assassinated on November 22, 1963 the Sun had progressed to form the inconjunction with the fateful Saturn-Pluto conjunction in the eighth house. Also, the Midheaven had progressed into early Scorpio and was nearly conjunct Mars, and the progressed Moon had arrived at the chart’s foundation where it conjoined Chiron. The transits were equally, if not more descriptive of this powerful moment in history. Transiting Pluto had arrived at the K.C. Midheaven, transforming the Kennedy Curse from a family affair into a national myth. Chiron was returning to its natal position, and transiting Saturn was exactly conjunct Ceres. The transiting Sun itself was exactly on the K.C. Ascendant.
In the same way, Robert’s assassination on June 6, 1968, Teddy’s Chappaquiddick incident on July 19, 1969, and John F. Jr’s fatal crash on July 16, 1999 can all be traced astrologically to this foundation horoscope. The interested student is encouraged to find the active transits and progressions during these similarly fateful events. Is it a curse? Or the inevitable unfolding of a family drama on the American stage? You be the judge.
The Mercury-Mars-Uranus combination is found repeatedly in the horoscopes of the individual Kennedys, and also by transit during the most important events. Joe Jr. has Mars in Mercury’s sign Gemini, trine Uranus, so his chart is reflective of this Kennedy Clan horoscope. John has a Mercury-Mars conjunction square Uranus, so he too is an especially solid reflection of this fundamental configuration. Bobby has Mercury square
Uranus, and octile (semi-square) Mars in Scorpio, and Ted has a Mercury-Mars conjunction in Uranus’s sign Aquarius. One way or the other, each of the Kennedy men had this risk-taking configuration in their own charts. Is this a curse, or family astrology?
becomes a psychological battleground. Rose was the emotional bedrock for three generations of Kennedys as she fixated on a Victorian role for herself and her female children. When transiting Chiron opposed this Moon in May 1948, another Kennedy fell victim to tragedy. The female side of the Kennedys became emotionally wounded, and the entire clan felt the deep sense of loss. Although Joseph had the greatest expectations for Young Joe, Kathleen was his favorite child.
Following the introduction, there's five sections on this page, which you can go to directly from here:
America's most famous political family has a horoscope, which can be used to track Kennedy transitions.