You don’t win a presidential election in the USA through good behavior. Americans like their presidents to be human, with the failings of human beings. And a dose of machismo does not harm either. Presidential candidates may try to portray a squeaky clean moral image, but looking back, we can see that Kennedy was a womanizer, Nixon a mendacious cynic, Reagan a macho star, and Clinton a man addicted to sexual conquests. That’s why they were liked. Jimmy Carter was an embarrassment to the American people – and he was truly a good man.

Massachusetts Man
So what chance does presidential candidate John Kerry have, war (and anti-war) hero, cultured Yale graduate (as indeed Bush also is), brought up in European boarding schools with a French mother and married to cosmopolitan philanthropist Teresa Heinz? As a rather inhibited and intellectual upper class Boston politician he has traditionally hopeless credentials for winning against Bush. Elections in the US are often decided by a population powerfully influenced by a rather right-wing media, and where lack of support for guns and the death penalty (which Kerry is against) will lose key voters.

The Bush campaign is arming itself for a devastating attack on every apparent weakness in the character of Kerry, and judging from the challenger’s chart there will be plenty of material to choose from.

Click here to see John Kerry’s horoscope

Kerry was born just before sunrise with a huge full Moon descending over the Western horizon, sandwiched between the two “malefics” Mars and Saturn. This is a very strong constellation, but it gives Kerry a very dour, controlled and even petty style. His seriousness and lack of spontaneity is a major obstacle in a country where hand shaking and baby-hugging are essential ingredients on the campaign trail. Put bluntly Kerry lacks charm and voter appeal. He thinks too much, is too long-winded and can’t express his emotions. That is not to say that Kerry is not experienced. He came into the Senate in 1982, and prior to that was a key anti-Vietnam war figurehead in the seventies. Few people doubt his integrity, and his personal war record makes Bush seem like a namby-pamby, so the Mars/Saturn connection can work in his favor – if the time is right.

Paradoxically for a man with such a strong Saturn, Kerry likes being the center of attention. His local newspaper the Boston Globe famously commented “Kerry cannot go past a mirror without saying hello”. Newspapers are clever – they certainly captured Kerry’s full moon in Gemini here. He was awarded the nickname “Live Shot” by Massachusetts political insiders for his relentless courting of reporters and TV stations. Obviously this is an expression of the Sun on his Ascendant, which manifests as attention-seeking, just as it does for the notoriously vain Italian premier Sylvio Berlusconi, who has the same Sun position. Kerry is a man deeply unsure of his self-image, but determined to overcome his weaknesses through a driving ambition to succeed. He has every chance of doing this, however. What could be better than Ascendant ruler Jupiter in Leo trine Sun in Sagittarius and in reception with it? Truly this is also a generous and magnanimous man. Jupiter’s sextile to Saturn shows the capacity to soften his dour and clumsy nature, to learn and to improve, and it also shows a consummate politician with a winner mentality, who can support and improve the society in which he is engaged.

Special Interests
Another charge that can be leveled at Kerry is that he is in the pockets of special interests. Republican strategists will not be slow to analyze his voting record over the last 22 years, and it will not be difficult to compromise Kerry as someone influenced by lobbyists of doubtful pedigree. These charges will stick: Kerry has Venus in Scorpio square the Pluto/Node conjunction in the 8th house. This is a strong signature for economic corruption and secret financial machinations. A closer look at this aspect reveals that the Sun is in semisquare to the Venus side of this square, whilst Saturn is in semisquare to the Pluto side. In other words the Venus/Pluto square is tightly integrated with the Saturn-influenced Full Moon. This is a man who has dirtied his hands during the course of his political life, and there will be damaging revelations in the months up to the election.

The Flip-Flopper
The most obvious apparent weakness in Kerry’s chart is the stellium in Gemini opposite the Sun, straddling the Ascendant/Descendant axis. The Bush team is already on to this. Witness the following remark from Bush who called his Democratic challengers:
“an interesting group with diverse opinions – for tax cuts and against them; for NAFTA and against NAFTA; for the Patriot Act and against the Patriot Act; in favor of liberating Iraq and opposed to it….and that’s just one senator from Massachusetts”
That’s a very clever remark, and Bush managed to get in the fact that Kerry was a Massachusetts politician – a state associated with remoteness and Protestant aristocracy. It’s a funny remark too, as he also deftly portrays Kerry as a man with multiple personalities – easy to recognize from his horoscope. Full marks to Bush’s handlers on that one.

It doesn’t help that the dispositor of the Gemini stellium, Mercury, is in very strong square to Neptune. Apart for a documented weakness for taking different positions on the same issues over time, the Neptune square may show a Kerry tendency to throw a smokescreen over issues, and even the risk of being exposed as a liar. Democratic strategy on this is to portray Kerry as a man of subtlety who can see shades of gray, but Bush will have little difficulty exposing him as a flip-flopper without strength and conviction. Kerry’s Achilles’ heel is the danger of being exposed from some secret economic deal and subsequently lying about it, as it will destroy his major resource – credibility.

Courting danger
The most extraordinary thing about Kerry’s chart is the journey (progressive) Mars makes during the course of his life. Retrograde at birth it was stationary at 5 degrees from the mid-sixties to the mid-seventies, in constant conjunction with Uranus. Vietnam was his battleground and it was with progressed Mars conjoining Uranus that he saw action as a navy captain on the Mekong Delta. He received his first medal for rashly ignoring orders and whilst under fire, bringing his boat to the river bank, pursuing and killing the Vietcong soldier who had fired grenades at the boat. He was wounded in action three times, which meant he had the right to be repatriated, which he chose to do after just four months.

Mars was still conjoining Uranus three years later when, as spokesman for “Vietnam Veterans Against the War” he make his now famous first major political speech at the Senate Foreign Relations committee.

Mars Refreshed
2005 is a significant year in Kerry’s life because the journey is over for Mars. At the age of 62 it returns to the very position at 10.36 Gemini that it occupied at Kerry’s birth – mission accomplished. From 2005 onwards Mars enters new territory, but right now it is the story of Mars and it’s journey which is the myth-making factor for Kerry. War was the making of Kerry, and war will be the defining issue during the 2004 election. This is Kerry’s trump card because via his retrograde Mars he is hooked in to the old Vietnam story in the minds of American citizens, and, whilst the body bags are returning from Baghdad, they are remembering.

Election Year
The USA is longing for Saturn right now, and Saturn is obliging by making its once every 30-year conjunction with the USA’s natal Sun at 13 Cancer. This is a time of reckoning for Bush too… he has the same Sun degree. America wants structure, not chaos. It wants protection, not vulnerability. That is why, even though the American people traditionally prefer a lighter, folksier type, they will be attracted to the Saturn-dominated Kerry. Advice to Kerry’s handlers – let him capitalize on his Saturn, and avoid making clumsy attempts to change his image.

Of course, Kerry has been through a vast face-lifting operation already. Diagnosed and cured of prostate cancer when Pluto transited his Ascendant and Saturn his Descendant (his own Twin Towers), Pluto has ripped through his Sun/Moon opposition during the grueling Democratic candidate selection process, and he has survived and come through. Like he says, people have no idea how much of a fighter he is. With the Pluto transit Kerry has shed much of his reserve and stiffness, and he is reborn as a potential president. But can he win?

Compatibility with the US
The most important astrological factor for a presidential candidate is the synastry he or she may have with the chart for the United States. The interaspects between these two horoscopes must be marked, and they will subsequently show the actual factors in the USA chart that will be activated during the presidency. John Kerry has a lot going for him:
1. His Sun and Ascendant fall on the US Ascendant, and his Gemini stellium on the US Descendant. This resonates with the foreign roots and disparate languages of Americans, just as he himself has strong bonds to Europe.
2. His Uranus is on the US Uranus, and his North Node is on the US Node – with the same house positions too! This is an extraordinary powerful contact, supercharged by Kerry’s North Node/Pluto and Mars/Uranus conjunctions. It is power signature keying in to the American dream of self-realization and freedom. It is not unconnected with terrorism and foreign adventures, just as for Kerry it represented the bloody initiation of Vietnam.
3. He has Mercury exactly opposite US Jupiter (and Venus), and Venus exactly trine US Venus – which strongly suggests financial growth and favorable business developments for the US should Kerry win the presidency.
4. His Ascendant ruler Jupiter at 27.03 Leo is exactly opposite the US Moon at 27.10 Aquarius. Whilst this may show a perception of him as a man of privilege, it could just as easily give enormous popularity as people project there hopes onto him.
5. He has his Saturn on the US Mars. More of this later.

This is an impressive list of contacts, but he has already had success as a senator. Can he win the presidency? The first thing to catch the eye is that on Election Day there is a Venus/Jupiter conjunction straddling Kerry’s MC, which is a supreme signature of victory. Curiously, his MC at 5 Libra is exactly on Bill Clinton’s Ascendant, so there seems to be a presidential tie-in, maybe through Hillary Clinton. However, Bush himself has a strong Moon/Jupiter conjunction in Libra, and at the time of the inauguration in January 2005, Jupiter is exactly on his natal Jupiter… clearly a favorable influence. On the other hand the activation of Bush’s Jupiter/Uranus trine could show newfound freedom, and surely he must be longing to get away from the crushing presence of Cheney and Rumsfelt, not to mention his father.

Kerry’s chances
The key to Kerry’s success or failure in the November 2nd election may lie in the subtle influence of progressions, and they are looking good. Take a minor factor like the proximity of Kerry’s Sun to his Ascendant. It is curious to see that as his progressed Ascendant increases in speed through the signs of short ascension like Aquarius, it catches up with the progressed Sun, and will actually conjoin it during the next presidential period. Plenty of opportunity to look at mirrors then! More powerfully this Ascendant and Sun conjunction at 20 Aquarius is just two degrees from opposing progressed Jupiter at 22 degrees Leo, and this will become exact during the next presidential period. In fact the Descendant progressed will conjoin radix Jupiter at the 2008 election, which could even indicate a two-term president.

As mentioned before, Kerry’s progressed Mars returns in 2005 to its natal position after a 62-year apprenticeship. A rare Mars return of this nature suggests a radical change and completely new territory. As 4th house ruler, a move to the White House might be appropriate, especially as Mars conjoins the Moon.

Furthermore Kerry’s progressed MC is at 7.01 Sagittarius at the election. There is no reason to think that his birth time is inaccurate either… during the course of 2003 the IC has been exactly on his Uranus, surely reflecting the mad campaigning rush around America. His MC now trines his Leo/Aquarius nodal axis, as it also does the US nodal axis at the same position. This indicates a fated moment of greatness, in which the projections of the masses are fulfilled in the person of Kerry. From 2005 to 2006 his MC trines Pluto, so if there was ever a time when Kerry would be handling power, it is in the coming years.

Military shakeup
Having survived the Pluto transits to his Full Moon, Kerry will experience a long opposition from Pluto to natal Saturn during 2005. Crucially his dominating Saturn is but two degrees from the US Mars. The USA is experiencing a rare Pluto opposition to its Mars at a time when its progressed Mars is poised to move retrograde for the next 80 years, showing a radical repolarization of US military might. Just as Russia got mired in Chechnya when Pluto squared its Mars, the USA will find itself in trouble militarily through its engagement in Iraq. The transit of Pluto to Mars shows military cutbacks, and what better person for the USA than a warrior made famous 30 years ago for his anti-war stance… a man with Sun and Moon placed between Saturn and Mars? The stellium conjoining Kerry’s Descendant shows a potential president who will be committed to international relations and expert at them, involved in just as great a battle trying to extricate the US military from war, as he was at the time of Vietnam.

Adrian Ross Duncan 19th April 2004