During the writing of this blog, originally titled “Post-Scandal Era,” the BBC news site posted a story about French ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy standing trial for campaign finance fraud in 2012. You might have missed the story as its shelf-life was shorter than a Twitter post.
Scandal still exists, but is now a mild flame whereas in my youth it was still a raging forest fire.
In 1972, for example, there was a break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate complex in Virginia. The individuals involved in the break in were found to have ties to a campaign of dirty tricks supported by a slush fund created by the Committee to Re-Elect the President. President Richard Nixon allowed a cover-up of the situation which led to the imprisonment of many of his subordinates and his own resignation of the presidency.
Forty-three years later, it’s difficult to imagine what Nixon did raising an eyebrow today. Corporate and political interests are morphing into one large clan with the overall number of corporations decreasing but the sphere of multi-nationals increasing.
The US system of political lobbying is essentially institutionalized bribery. During elections, one or more candidates of both parties cry “corruption” but because the corruption does not enter daily lives for many, it is forgotten and ignored after the election. In other places on the globe, daily “lobbying” is a common occurrence.
Is political scandal fading into history? Are we still capable of the moral outrage that fuels the concept of scandal?
The Characteristics of Scandal
In reviewing what are perceived as scandals in a Google search, I discovered much considered scandalous resides in astrological one polarity – Taurus – Scorpio. The Taurus represents money, assets and self-worth. Scorpio in opposition represents money shared with others, inheritance, taxes and death.
Taurus is the physical, separate self. Scorpio is anywhere you merge your separate self with other selves from financial transactions to physical contact. That is why Scorpio rules sex and taxes. Scorpio also represents death as that is when physical body dissolves from the world and merges into the earth (Taurus) and universe.
Scandals tend to involve secret or illegal transfers of money, sex with those other than socially sanctioned (such as one’s spouse or a person of the opposite sex) and death.
There are a few other types of scandals out there such as athletic doping, which is in the realm of the body. Selling drugs is another area of scandal but that can be included under money.
The other areas of the horoscope may be involved in scandal in an ancillary fashion. A married individual having a fifth house romance may create scandal but the scandal is truly due to the Scorpio breach of trust by merging the body with another, rather than the romance itself.
Lying, a form of agile creative communication which may be associated with the third-ninth house polarity, is rarely scandalous in isolation. It’s only scandalous when involving sex and money. Possibly those are the main reasons we lie?
The first and sixth houses of self-other is one area that would seem to produce scandal. Being oneself and saying what one thinks uninhibited would seem to create scandal, but rarely does. I’m not sure if getting drunk at the office holiday party and dancing on the desks is considered a scandal (a personal one, of course); I imagine today it’s simply something to post to social media.
The Triggers of a Scandal
Browsing through some political scandals of the last 50 years, the triggers of the scandal appear unrelated to the scandal itself. The scandal is Taurus/Scorpio. The triggers can come from hurt loved ones (Venus or moon), accidental revelations (Uranus), political foes (Pluto and Mars) or the law (Saturn).
We’ll often see a transiting planet making an opposition during the time of scandal. The opposition is aptly named as it represents an opposing force to a natal energy. Oppositions drive us to reaction and action.
In analogy, it’s like your corporate job. Browsing the Internet instead of producing that report may not get you fired. But if someone wants to fire you, browsing the Internet may be one of the reasons listed.
Likewise, the scandal isn’t the thing itself but the revealing of that activity by those who have an interest in using that activity to punish or gain control. Scandal is so common in politics because politics is power itself. Revealing the scandal of others increases power and the ability to hide one’s own scandals.
Your CliffsNotes scandals:
Lance Armstrong, cyclist, admitted in 2013 after years of accusations that he used performance-enhancing drugs during his career. At the time of his confession, transiting Neptune had just entered Pisces and made T-square to his natal Neptune/Jupiter in Sagittarius and Saturn in Gemini. Neptune then began its transit of natal Mercury. Neptune will take some time to get to natal sun and Pluto. This scandal, unlike the political ones below, is less about opposition and more about guilt and self-undoing. Neptune creates uncertainty which allows for manipulation. Armstrong probably could have continued the lie but instead confessed and now is experiencing Neptune dissolution of his former life. [chart]
Bill Clinton, former US president, was impeached in 1998 after a year of transiting Saturn opposing his Mars/Neptune/Venus/Jupiter conjunction in Libra. At the same time transiting Uranus was opposing natal Saturn/Mercury in Leo. Saturn was the law. Uranus the unexpected struck at Clinton’s weakest link – Saturn in Leo. The original attack on Clinton was due to a real estate deal – Whitewater. His perjury emerged accidentally from that investigation and ended the investigation into that real estate deal. It was clear that as long as the opponents found a crime, the ostensible reason for the investigation was tossed aside. [chart]
Richard Nixon, former US president, resigned the presidency in 1974 as Saturn transited his tenth house of career and reputation and opposed his sun in Capricorn. His scandal was money and cover up of illegal activity. Saturn was the law that ended his public career. Saturn transiting in Cancer meant the collective, the group, rejected him. [chart]
Nicolas Sarkozy, former president of France, is experiencing his scandal while transiting Pluto is opposing natal Jupiter/Uranus in Cancer and transiting Uranus is opposing natal Neptune in Libra. I keep getting the sense that Sarkozy pissed someone off for this scandal to arise at this time. The transiting Uranus opposing Neptune gives the sense Sarkozy is truly unaware of his transgression against those opposing him. This month’s full moon (the 10th) is conjunct Sarkozy’s Pluto in Leo which energizes him to fight back. [chart]
Jeffrey Skilling, former CEO of Enron prior to its collapse in 2001 due to financial fraud, is currently in federal prison from that scandal. Skilling didn’t have the intense oppositions we see in other scandals. Uranus and Neptune were transiting Aquarius from the Enron bankruptcy to Skilling’s incarceration in 2004 which may have opposed his moon if in Leo (it could be in Cancer but his risk-taking personality suggests Leo). Transiting Saturn also spent some time on natal Jupiter in Gemini during his trial. What’s interesting is that transiting Pluto in Sagittarius had already made a transit to the natal sun in the late 1990s prior to Enron’s bankruptcy. Rather than opposition, Skilling created a Pluto-fueled implosion. This scandal occurred from within and was only noticed externally with the company’s sudden demise. [chart]
John Stumpf of Wells Fargo recently experienced the scandal involving the opening fake accounts by staff pressured to acquire business. Transiting Uranus is opposing a natal conjunction of Neptune/Saturn in Libra. Transiting Pluto is opposing natal Uranus in Cancer and transiting Saturn is conjunct natal moon in Sagittarius. That’s quite a bit of opposition and restraint for a Sagittarius moon (ala President Trump) that is freedom-seeking to the point of recklessness and irresponsibility. Many forces came at Stumpf and ordered him to stop.
Digging for Scandal
Scandals are like potato bugs that live in the soil. You know they are there but don’t see them until you dig into the earth. Those wanting to find potato bugs merely need to grab a trowel and pick a spot.
Possibly an increasing boredom with scandal is due to an increase in volume which makes it commonplace and “normal.” Increased volume may simply be due to the increase in social media and the ease with which information can placed in front of people.
There does seem to be a reduction of the emotional charge of scandal and period of interest. We may not be in a post-scandal era. We may simply be in a too-much-information era which reduces our ability to give focus to any event, including scandal.