It’s been too difficult to keep up with the flood of accusations of sexual misconduct lately, even if one wanted to. Since Jupiter entered sex-and-scandal-obsessed Scorpio in early October, with rape-and-coercion-oriented Aristaeus conjunct the Sun, it’s almost impossible to enumerate the mighty who have fallen. The 80+ women who have now asserted various levels of sexual assault or impropriety from Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein opened the floodgates, and the resulting deluge has swamped individuals as disparate as actor Kevin Spacey, “Today” show anchor Matt Lauer, beloved author Garrison Keillor, and politician John Conyers, longest-serving member of the US House of Representatives.
But on Thursday December 7th, two additional resignations on Capitol Hill attracted my attention, due to the similarity of the names involved. Senator Al Franken (D-MN) and Representative Trent Franks (R-AZ) both announced plans to vacate their offices, due to allegations of sexual misconduct, none of which rise to the level of a Weinstein, Spacey or Lauer, but which, in the prevailing #MeToo attitude, had become problematic enough to prompt their departures.
What are the chances that two such disparate individuals, a Democratic Senator accused of inappropriate touching and a Republican Representative accused of inappropriate conversations, with such similar names, would resign on the same day?
Actually, fairly good, considering the asteroids involved. Neither Franken nor Franks has an exact asteroid match, but both resonate to asteroids Franke and Franck, and with the latter having turned direct at 19 Aries just four days prior, in the company of asteroid America at 15 Aries, the time was ripe for both men to step down. Stations provide quite literal “turning points”, and for anyone associated with the asteroids in question, life-changing events can ensue. America here suggests the widespread knowledge of their actions in the country at large, as well as these individuals’ status as elected office holders in the US. Franck also conjoins Uranus at 24 Aries, which Franke more closely squares from 25 Capricorn, still within orb of Pluto at 17 Capricorn, marking the pair as yet more fatalities of the recent Uranus/Pluto square which, though now out of orb, continues to reverberate through the collective. Uranus shows the shocking nature of the claims, and the suddenness of the retribution; Pluto indicates a devastating loss or transformation in circumstance.
The pace of these revelations may be slowing; Jupiter of course remains in Scorpio for a full year, and there will be other rocks to turn over before we’re done, but with the Aristaeus conjunction to the Sun ending on December 11th, we’re likely past the first wave and can take a well-earned holiday breather. Aristaeus is named for the mythic would-be seducer of Eurydice, Orpheus’ wife, who in fleeing his unwanted embrace trod upon a poisonous serpent and expired. Its protracted (since August) conjunction with the Sun has helped to focus the public’s attention on matters of sexual misconduct generally, and specifically, forcible contacts.
Al Franken’s fall from grace began on November 16th, when a former USO performer and colleague, Leeann Tweeden, accused him of unwanted sexual advances under the guise of rehearsing a sketch for the troops, when he forcibly kissed her. Photographic evidence was produced, of a sophomoric Franken appearing to grope Tweeden’s breasts as she slept in a plane seat on the flight home. Franken acknowledged the misconduct, apologized, and encouraged a Senate Ethics Committee investigation into his actions. But politics are a funny thing, and even “getting out ahead” of a story doesn’t guarantee a favorable outcome. With the fracas surrounding the GOP’s support of Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, accused of child molestation, the optics of Franken’s position, as a member of the rival party, were poor. Since the initial revelation, six other women have come forward to assert various incidents of groping or forcible kissing, some of which Franken denies, others he asserts he “remembers differently”, but the ongoing allegations prompted 30 of Franken’s fellow Democratic senators to call for his resignation, which he offered on December 7th.
Trent Franks’ story is more bizarre. According to published reports at this early date, Franks was facing an Ethics Committee investigation into conversations he had with female staffers regarding gestational surrogacy possibilities, which made them uncomfortable. Franks and his wife have had difficulty conceiving, and have used a surrogate in the past, who bore twins for the couple. In his letter of resignation from the 17th, Franks states his fear that the charges will be blown up out of proportion by the media if the investigation proceeds, and to spare his family and staffers the “hyperbolized public excoriation”, he will resign his seat in January. On its face, this appears to be less a case of sexual misconduct and more one of TMI, offering too much information, and one suspects there may be something more behind it to prompt this drastic response.
So we’ll focus on Al Franken’s circumstances for the remainder of the article, keeping in mind that the Franck/Franke celestial lineup ultimately worked to bring both men down. We’re fortunate to have a Rodden A-rated birth time for Franken (born 5/21/51, 6:15 PM EDT, New York, NY), and the chart well displays the current circumstances, and Franken’s inherent issues in this area. We’ll also be looking at asteroids Alain and Allen, as homophones and alternate versions of “Alan”, Franken’s full first name.
Franken sports an exact Sun/Mars conjunction in the chart, at 0 Gemini. This can indicate some degree of preoccupation with sex, which is viewed as central to one’s core being due to the solar emphasis. This point was squared by the “American Eclipse” of last August at 28 Leo, thrusting Franken and his sexual antics into the spotlight. Transit centaur body Nessus, named for another would-be mythic rapist, has been squaring this conjunction in 2017, and is currently headed back toward the degree from 4 Pisces; it is also in square to Franken’s 9 Sagittarius Moon, forming a T-Square suggesting past indiscretions and issues with women. Nessus is also emphasized in the birth chart; at 14 Taurus it is conjoined the 8 Taurus Descendant, giving it angular force and influence in Franken’s life.
Nessus is also conjoined asteroid Achilles at 16 Taurus, representing an inherent flaw or weakness, one which threatens to destroy the native (as in our term, “Achilles heel”). The implication is clear – Franken has a natural bent toward socially unacceptable behavior with women, of whatever degree, and this forms a weak spot in his character, and thus, as Heraclitus reminds us, his destiny. With asteroid Washingtonia adjacent at 17 Taurus, we find the geographic venue for where this flaw makes itself known, in the nation’s capital.
This rather unfortunate combination is made even worse by a pairing of natal asteroid Aristaeus (that other rape energy) with Damocles, representing the doom hanging unseen overhead, reinforcing the tendency toward self-destruction via bad behaviors present in Achilles/Nessus. And where do these appear? Why, at 17 and 18 Capricorn, naturally, just where Pluto is right now! Ouch! Natal Pluto lies at 17 Leo, exactly inconjunct natal Aristaeus, and thus also exactly inconjunct transit Pluto now, too. Double ouch! In addition to its transformative and potentially devastating effects, Pluto has a connection to scandal, manipulation, coercion and rape also, as the Roman form of the Greek god Hades, abductor and ravisher of Persephone.
A conjunction of natal asteroid Karma with Saturn at 19 and 25 Virgo indicates the potential for penalties for past behaviors, affecting career. And as to career choices, asteroid Senator lies close beside Saturn, at 29 Virgo, and is itself stationary, having turned direct three days before Franken’s birth. A stationary Senator conjunct Saturn is a strong pull toward politics as a career, in this case expressed literally in Franken’s job title.
Venus at 12 Cancer conjoins Uranus at 7 Cancer, so again, Franken’s approach to women, and relationships, is likely to be societally unconventional, perhaps shocking, as well as abrupt and disjointed (all Uranian traits). The Moon at 9 Sagittarius is just past opposition to the Sun, so Franken probably sees himself pretty clearly, with a good perspective, and one can sense that in his initial responses and particularly in his resignation speech.
Speaking of the Moon, it also opposes natal asteroid Franke at 11 Gemini. This placement is too broad to be considered conjunct the 0 Gemini Sun, but in opposition to the Moon, perfectly portrays Franken’s family heritage and ancestry, embodied in his surname, as represented by Franke. Natal Franck at 6 Capricorn combines with TNO Salacia (the root of our word “salacious”) at 2 Capricorn and asteroid America at 28 Sagittarius, linking Franken with the potential for a sexual scandal (Salacia) that becomes nationally known (America). Asteroid Alain at 1 Leo squares the 8 Scorpio Ascendant, ruling how we appear to others, a common connection for a first name PNA to make, while asteroid Allen at 28 Gemini conjoins Ganymed at 24 Gemini. Ganymed, named for Zeus’ cupbearer and boy-toy lover, often symbolizes same-sex attraction, but at its most basic interpretive level refers to relationships between individuals who are widely disparate in some sense, whether that be in age, social or economic status, or what have you. Franken’s use of his power to cross personal boundaries would fit the pattern of a Ganymed-style relationship.
Franken’s original accuser, Leeann Tweeden, is present in the horoscope in some startling ways. There is no “Leeann” asteroid, but there is a Lee, a Leani, and a Leeannragasa, combining a first and last name. We can splice the two, and the point becomes a celestial referent for either. All three show with apt prominence. Asteroid Lee at 14 Capricorn falls within orb of the Aristaeus/Damocles conjunction, defining where these energies might be focused. Leani at 18 Gemini conjoins Ganymed, again putting a name to the potential for abuse of power relations. And asteroid Leeannragasa at 9 Pisces is exactly squared the Moon, providing a very strong personal tie to Franken. It is also between the current transit positions of Nessus at 4 Pisces and Neptune, ruling victims, at 11 Pisces. Similarly, there is no “Tweeden” asteroid, but there are two Lewis Carroll-inspired points: Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Tweedledum at 2 Sagittarius conjoins the Moon and opposes Sun/Mars, while Tweedledee at 10 Virgo opposes Leeannragasa and fills in that Grand Cross.
When the storm broke with Leeann Tweeden’s disclosures on November 16th, Tweedledum at 21 Scorpio conjoined the Sun at 24 Scorpio, pulling focus her way. Tweedledee at 5 Gemini was conjoined Franken’s natal 0 Gemini Sun/Mars, and opposed the transit Alain/Senator conjunction at 1 and 2 Sagittarius. Asteroid Leani at 14 Sagittarius was an exact match for newsmaker Mercury, Leeannragasa at 6 Scorpio conjoined Karma, Jupiter and Venus at 7, 8 and 11 Scorpio, showing her connection with a reckoning for past deeds (Karma), politics (Jupiter) and romantic overtures (Venus), albeit of an awkward and insensitive nature. Asteroid Lee at 27 Leo squared the Sun, bringing additional attention, and was trine Saturn at 26 Sagittarius.
Incredibly, asteroid Franke at 14 Capricorn was an exact match for Franken’s natal Lee, also energizing the Aristaeus/Damocles to follow, bringing together the accused and accuser. Asteroid Franck at 20 Aries conjoined Uranus at 25 Aries, highlighting the shocking, surprising nature of the revelations.
We spoke a bit about the day of Franken’s resignation above, but it bears reexamination. Two evocative strings of points tell most of the story: Aristaeus (coerced sexual contact), Venus (women, romance), Alain (Al Franken), Senator (also Franken) and the Sun (the day’s focus) appear spread out from 6 through 15 Sagittarius, while Mercury (news), Saturn (penalties, government work, career), Washingtonia (the US capital venue), Icarus (rash, reckless actions) and Achilles (inherent flaw) stretch from 27 Sagittarius through 9 Capricorn. Asteroid Franke at 25 Capricorn is pulling away from Pluto at 17 Cap, but still within orb, and squared Mars (sex, aggressive actions) at 28 Libra. Asteroid Allen at 8 Aquarius squares Jupiter, ruling politics and the Senate, and also providing (unwanted) publicity, while a stationary Franck at 19 Aries conjoins Uranus and squares Pluto.
Was Franken right to resign, or is he himself a victim of the politics of the day, with its emphasis on the rising tide of zero tolerance for boorish, sexually inappropriate behavior? Franken’s legislative record is peppered with sponsorship of bills which have improved fairness, equality and quality of life for American women, and he had recently become a powerful voice in questioning the Trump administration’s apparent amnesia regarding their Russian contacts. While his behaviors cannot be explained or excused, is it right to lump him in the same class as world class sexual predators like Harvey Weinstein, and mete out similar punishments?
These questions are beyond the scope of this article, but as an object lesson in celestial-terrestrial dynamics, Franken’s discomfiture stands out as yet another incredibly detailed example of a terrestrial story depicted with celestial simplicity.