Jussie Smollett is a biracial actor and singer, who came to national attention in the hit Fox drama “Empire”, where he portrays a gay black man caught up in the backstage machinations of the music industry. Smollett is himself gay, and very publically so, coming out on Ellen DeGeneres’ show in 2015. He began his acting career as a child, in such films as “The Mighty Ducks” and “North”, before moving into commercials and guest spots, then returning to a lead role in 2015 with “Empire”. Smollett’s portrayal has received international acclaim as “groundbreaking” for gays of color.
On January 29, 2019, Smollett filed a report with the Chicago Police Department alleging he had been attacked and brutalized by two white men in the street, who hurled fists and both racial and sexual epithets at him, including putting a rope around his neck. According to Smollett, the attackers yelled “This is MAGA country!” as they assaulted him, an apparent reference to Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign theme. Smollett claims he fought them off, and was released from the hospital the next morning with only superficial injuries.
The attack on Smollett became a cause celebre on social media, combining as it did both racist and homophobic elements, with such entertainment industry luminaries as Shonda Rhimes and Viola Davis tweeting their support. US Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, both African American candidates for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, tweeted that the assault amounted to “a modern-day lynching.”
Skepticism about the attack surfaced early on, with critics claiming Smollett had staged the incident. Smollett’s response was to assert that if his attackers had been Muslim, Mexican or African American, “the doubters would have supported me much more… And that says a lot about the place that we are in our country right now.”
On February 13th, Chicago PD arrested two brothers of Nigerian descent as “persons of interest” in the crime; the pair knew Smollett, having been extras on “Empire” and occasionally worked out with the actor at his gym. The brothers were released without charge two days later, and are now cooperating with police on an investigation into whether Smollett faked the attack, alleging he paid them $3500 to play their parts (with a personal check, no less! First rule of crime –keep it in cash!)). Security camera footage surfaced showing the brothers buying the white rope that was found around Smollett’s neck, and the ski masks they used to disguise themselves, several days before the alleged assault.
On February 20th, Smollett was charged by Chicago police with a Class 4 felony for filing a false report, a charge which, if proved, carries a maximum three year prison sentence. Smollett surrendered himself to police the following morning. At his arraignment later that day, bail was set at $100,000.
What to make of this? Asteroids can give clues as to what is actually going on here.
Justin “Jussie” Smollett was born 21 June 1982; the Sun changed Signs that day, and without a time of birth, we can’t be sure if he’s 29 Gemini or 0 Cancer. I’m inclining to 0 Cancer myself, if only because that puts asteroid Justiniano, one of several stand-ins for “Justin”, just coming into orb of conjunction with the Sun, from 10 Cancer. One’s own PNAs typically connect to the Sun, Moon, Ascendant or Mercury (as ruling the naming function). Regardless, Smollett has that base covered, with asteroid Justino, another variant, at 1 Pisces, in trine to the Sun, which also opposes asteroid Jessie, at 4 Capricorn, perhaps inclining him to the nickname him “Jussie”.
And whichever solar degree is right, either would be within orb of asteroid Toro at 7 Cancer, a point noted for bullying, brutish behaviors, whether originating from or directed toward the individual. The Sun also broadly squares Mars at 9 Libra, another indication of a possible run-in with violence at some point in the life, as well as suggesting a heightened importance for sexuality in his self-image. So there is definitely potential there for a legitimate attack of some sort.
Smollett’s gay bona fides are also well established, with Mars conjunct Saturn at 15 Libra. Individuals who identify as gay often have Venus or Mars linked with Saturn (restrictions on “normal” sexual expression), Uranus (“shocking” or counterculture expressions), Neptune (“confused” or “hidden” expressions) or Pluto (taboo, scandalous expressions), as well as prominent placements for Sappho, Ganymed or Eros, all asteroid indicators of homosexuality. In addition to Mars/Saturn, Smollett has Venus at 25 Taurus at the apex of Yod, or Finger of Destiny, with inconjuncts to Pluto at 24 Libra and Neptune at 25 Sagittarius, so his sexuality would appear to be a matter of fate, not a conscious choice.
Sappho is named for the ancient Greek poet, Sappho of Lesbos, who gave her name to the modern term for female homosexuals, lesbians; Smollett’s Sappho at 22 Libra conjoins Pluto, trines the Sun, is inconjunct Venus, and is itself in a stationary stance, having turned direct just 8 days before his birth, making it a potent factor in his biography. Ganymed is named for Zeus’ cupbearer and boytoy lover; Smollett’s Ganymed at 6 Leo is sextile Mars. Eros is named for Aphrodite’s son, and is the root of our word “erotic”; while indicating romantic passion generally, in ancient Greece, Eros was the acknowledged patron of homosexual unions. Smollett’s Eros at 26 Vigo is trine Venus and squared Neptune.
Smollett’s chosen profession can be seen in the chart as well, with the Sun opposing both Neptune, planetary ruler of the dramatic arts as well as singers, and also asteroid Actor, a more specific indicator, at 20 Sagittarius. Neptune here brings up another point – what does astrology have to say about Smollett’s overall relationship with the truth?
Sun opposed Neptune can be deceptive, although Neptune can manifest as many other things as well: spiritualty, compassion, altruism, creativity, or alcohol and substance abuse. And Sun/Neptune is often at least as self-delusional or fantasy-prone as it is fraudulent or dishonest with others, so it isn’t a given that Smollett is casually untruthful, but the possibility is definitely there.
More troubling in this regard is Mercury at 8 Gemini. Conjoined by asteroids Kassandra and d’Arrest at 3 and 9 Gemini, Mercury is also squared by asteroids Icarus and Truth at 5 and 10 Pisces, sextile Ganymed at 6 Leo and trined Mars at 9 Libra. This is a complicated mix. Let’s start with the conjunctions first.
Kassandra is named for the prophetess of Troy, who was cursed to tell the truth but never be believed. It relates to credibility issues – is this individual trustworthy and reliable? As in the myth, some Kassandra natives speak truth but are disbelieved; others are simply untruthful. Linked to Mercury, we need to be especially cautious of Smollett’s words, statements, and official documents. d’Arrest symbolizes just what it sounds like – an arrest, detention, charges filed.
So we have a picture of an individual who may have problems with credibility, especially as it relates to things said and formal declarations (as in a police report). We already know Smollett has issues with this, from an earlier arrest in 2007, when he was pulled over in a DUI stop, and attempted to pass himself off as his younger brother. He later pleaded no contest to a blood alcohol level over the legal limit and driving without a valid license, and was given a fine and two years’ probation. This also relates to the Sun/Neptune opposition above, incorporating themes of deception and alcohol.
Now let’s add in the squares. Icarus is not only squared Mercury, it’s also at station, having turned retrograde the day before Smollett’s birth. This makes its traits very strong elements in his character, and these include rash, reckless acts taken heedless of the consequences, an inability to follow good advice, and a sense that one knows better than others and needs no direction, not having to follow the rules. Squared to Mercury, this implies poor decision-making skills, difficulty reckoning the likely costs of actions taken, and irresponsible, wild or hasty choices.
Truth in square to Mercury is difficult to assess. Like any astrologic symbol, Truth has two sides, and in square to Mercury, this can represent essential honesty, or, given the square aspect, a stressful, strife-ridden relationship with the facts. Conjoined Icarus, the suggestion is that Smollett can play fast-and-loose with the truth, often without thinking through the likely fallout; a broad square to Uranus at 1 Sagittarius, also noted for erratic, irrational behaviors, confirms this.
But Truth is also exactly trine Justiniano at 10 Cancer, and exactly sextile asteroid Jussieu, another “Jussie” variant, at 10 Taurus. Moreover, Jussieu itself is conjoined asteroid Veritas at 13 Taurus, Latin for “truth”, so these are mitigating astro-actors for Smollett, pointing to a basic level of honesty. Veritas is also semisquare the Sun, underscoring Smollett’s essential authenticity regarding himself. Certainly his going public about his sexuality suggests he endeavors to live his life as openly as possible.
There remains Ganymed and Mars to be assessed. As we have seen, Ganymed refers to homosexuality, and Mars to violence or attacks. Put this all together, and we do get a celestial image of a rash, ill-advised (Icarus) lie (Truth squared Mercury) given in an official context (as a police report – Mercury), regarding a sexuality-based (Ganymed) assault (Mars), which is judged as not credible (Kassandra) and results in charges filed (d’Arrest). It’s all right there, in plain astrologese.
Backing this up is asteroid Lie itself, which at 27 Cancer is squared to Sappho, Pluto and, incredibly, asteroid Chicago, at 25 Libra! Chicago is another stationary point in the chart, turning direct just four days before Smollett’s birth. This links blatant dishonesty (Lie) with a hate crime (Pluto) based in homosexuality (Sappho), occurring in Chicago. Pretty darn literal, that.
When we look at the date for the alleged assault, January 29, we see that again there is a parlous relationship with the truth displayed. This time it’s asteroid Veritas which at 7 Scorpio squares the Sun and Mercury at 8 and 9 Aquarius, a reflection of the natal Truth/Mercury square. Asteroid Truth at 9 Sagittarius is itself opposed Smollett’s natal Mercury at 8 Gemini, an aspect only slightly less problematic than the square in these circumstances, though the concomitant conjunction of asteroid Justiniano at 10 Sag with Truth suggests a ready acceptance of his story, at least on a social media (Mercury again) level. But a forming conjunction of these with Jupiter at 17 Sagittarius could indicate an overreach, taking things too far.
The countervailing argument to Smollett’s honesty comes from asteroid Justino, which at 2 Virgo broadly squares Truth, and is itself conjunct asteroid Chicago at 28 Leo, placing Smollett on the scene. Further complicating matters is Chicago’s opposition to transit Lie, exactly conjoined Damocles, the doom hanging unseen overhead, at 24 Aquarius. This is a very bad combination for Smollett, implying that the false statement told at the time will come back to ruin him when least expected, as has indeed occurred. Transit asteroid Jutzi, our last referent for “Jussie”, appears at 15 Pisces, closely conjoined transit Neptune at 14 Pisces, again suggesting some deception or fraud.
The pivotal nature of Smollett’s sexuality to the scenario is shown in a grouping of asteroids Sappho, Eros and Jessie, at 11, 17 and 21 Gemini. As at birth, Sappho is once again stationary, having turned direct 8 days prior, depicting its prominence as an element in the story. Jessie is also at station, and will change direction on February 8th, marking a literal turning point in the saga, as police begin to concentrate on the veracity of his statement. Adding a further air of verisimilitude is asteroid Ganymed at 5 Scorpio, conjoined Veritas at 7, which is exactly trined Toro at 7 Pisces, suggesting an honest (Veritas) account of gay (Ganymed) bashing (Toro).
When Chicago PD filed charges against Smollett for false statements on February 20th, the worm had turned again. Literally, with asteroid Jussieu making its retrograde station the day before at 0 Scorpio, cementing the “turning point” energy prefigured by Jessie’s station a week earlier. Jussieu is bound up with Ganymed and Veritas at 6 and 9 Scorpio, which now square asteroids Photographica and Karma at 7 and 10 Aquarius. The photographic evidence of the security camera (Photographica) is leading here to a calling to account for prior bad acts (Karma). Justiniano and Truth are now more closely aligned with Jupiter, at 14, 16 and 20 Sagittarius, and all three square Mercury conjoined Neptune at 15 and 17 Pisces, the false statements (Mercury/Neptune) by Smollett (Justiniano) now made public (Jupiter), the actual facts (Truth) revealed. Justino and Chicago remain united at 27 and 25 Leo, now more closely opposed Damocles at 25 Aquarius; that doom is catching up with him.
Lastly, transit d’Arrest at 26 Sagittarius is squared Jutzi at 23 Virgo, in a T-Square with Jessie at 21 Gemini conjunct TNO Chaos at 23 Gemini. And Chaos is just what Smollett has created in his life, with that apparent lie about being attacked. Why did he do it? The police allege he acted to enhance his career, but given the propensity of Smollett’s natal Icarus square Mercury to act rashly, without due forethought, we may never know.