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Astrology at Work: The Impeachment of Richard Nixon

The impeachment inquiry going on in Congress right now is dominating the news. It’s also got people recalling previous efforts to impeach a sitting president. There have been three and only one was in any way successful. In 1974 Richard Nixon chose to resign from office rather than face an impeachment vote in the Senate that he was sure to lose. I thought it would be interesting to look back at what was going on in Nixon's chart during this period. (Click on Richard Nixon to see his horoscope.)

Appropriately enough (from an astrological perspective) Nixon’s troubles began during a Saturn transit. On June 13, 1971, just as transiting Saturn was conjunct Nixon's natal Saturn, The New York Times published excerpts from Daniel Elsberg's upcoming book, “The Pentagon Papers”, which contained secrets regarding the involvement of the United States in the Vietnam War. The information was not particularly embarrassing to Nixon but, on advice from Henry Kissinger, he decided to get a court order for the Times to stop publishing the excerpts.

Decisions we make under a Saturn transit often have importance that is not immediately apparent. When the court ruled against Nixon in this matter it set off a wave of paranoia in the White House. A group of his supporters who went by the name “The White House Plumbers” came together with the aim of protecting their president from this sort of leak. A list of “enemies” was formed and these men went to work trying to undermine these people.

Almost exactly a year later some of the “Plumbers” were arrested when their broke into the Democratic Party Headquarters in the Watergate Hotel. This happened just a couple of weeks before transiting Saturn crossed Nixon’s Midheaven. Richard Nixon was at the peak of his presidency. During the previous February he had made his historic visit to China and he was heading toward a landslide win in the election that would take place in November. Any yet, it was this event, and the decisions that were made immediately afterwards, that would define his presidency.

Often Saturn Cycle aspects bring about dramatic, fateful turning points in out lives, the kind of events that stand out in our memory, like getting married, getting that dream job or meeting a person who will, in one way or another, change your life. But sometimes Saturn works in quieter ways. It behooves us to pay attention to these quiet passages because the events that transpire and the choice we make can have lasting importance.

There were no major Saturn Cycle aspects going on in Nixon’s chart on the day he resigned. In fact, there were no major transits of any kind that were close to exact (except for transiting Uranus square his natal Neptune). Nixon’s fall came about because of an event and some decisions he made during a Saturn transit two years earlier. Nixon had done everything in his power to keep those bad choices from becoming known but Saturn has a way of forcing us to face our faults and the consequences of our mistakes.

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