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The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist

Not being a football fan I was unaware the saga of Manti Te’o, the defensive back who was a star at Notre Dame and then went on to an solid career as a pro. However, I recently saw an episode of “Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn't Exist” on Netflix and wondered how astrology might fit into this story.

It is a strange story. While at Notre Dame, Te’o began a relationship with a young woman via Facebook. This young woman came from a similar ethnic background as Te’o (Samoan) and, like him, was devoted to her church. Also, the photograph Te’o saw on Facebook showed her to be a pretty and petite young woman with a dazzling smile. The relationship began with some innocent chatting and then gradually grew into a serious emotional connection. The only problem was that Te’o and this young woman never met in person.

The reason the couple never met in person, and the young woman’s phone never seemed to work when Te’o tried to facetime her, was because the young woman was actually a young man. This young man, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, had set up the fake Facebook page as a way of dealing with gender dysphoria. (The young man has since transitioned and is now called Naya Tuiasosopo) The fact that Manti Te’o, a highly disciplined athlete who, along with being a football star, had a 3.5 grade point average, was so totally taken in by this deception is the reason I wanted to look at this horoscope.

We don’t have a time of birth for Manti Te’o so I’ve done a horoscope for noon on his date of birth. (Click on Manti Te’o to see the chart.) The first thing we notice is a high concentration of Air signs. Along with the Sun in Aquarius and the Moon in Gemini, he has Mars in Gemini and Venus in Aquarius. In the Mars and Venus Playbook I say of this combination of Mars and Venus signs: “For you the idea of love is always more important than the physical realities of sex. . .” This gives us a clue as to how a young man would come to consider a person he had never physically touched, or even seen, to be the love of his life.

Another interesting wrinkle in this chart is that Mars and Venus, even though they are in the same element, actually form a square aspect. This is an aspect of great passion, but it’s passion that plays out in cool, intellectual Air signs. Air sign people are often very good at channeling strong emotions into unrelated activities. For Te’o, that unrelated activity was football. As a defensive back his job on the football field was to hit the guy carrying the ball as hard as possible. All the sublimated Mars and Venus energy made Te'o very good at this.

Sublimation was not just an intellectual game for Manti Te’o, it was part of his Mormon faith. The Mormon church does not condone sex before marriage and, since Te’o was devoted to his faith, we have to believe that he held himself to that rule. This brings us to another interesting feature in this partial chart. Saturn is in a close conjunction with the North Node of the Moon. In my book “The Lunar Nodes” I talk about how people with Saturn aspecting the Nodes bring the archetype of the Teacher into their lives. It is an archetype that demands much of us and never lets us get by with second best. Te’o’s self-discipline and adherence to duty indicate that he was quite familiar with this forbidding archetype and its uncompromising demands for excellence.

That brings to Mercury in this chart. It is in the practical sign of Capricorn but also in a close conjunction with nebulous Neptune. This aspect certainly played role in Te’o adherence to his faith. This configuration allowed Te’o  to be a hardheaded problem solver in the classroom and on the football field but open to spiritual guidance in other areas. However, whenever Mercury aspects Neptune there is always a tendency to see only what you want to see and believe only what makes you feel good. This is apparently what happened to Manti Te’o as he was being led along by his fake Facebook friend.

On September 11, 2012 Ronaiah Tuiasosopo decided he needed to end the relationship with Te’o. However, instead of fessing up to his deception, he killed off his alter-ego. He contacted Te’o as his real self (and the girlfriend’s “cousin) and informed him that she had died. It so happened Te’o's grandmother died the same day. He was heartbroken. He told a journalist about his double bereavement and story spread throughout the media. American mourned with Manti Te’o for a person who did not exist.

The rest of the story is easy to guess. The truth about Tuiasosopo’s deception came out. Te’o was not only shocked and embarrassed, he was accused in the press of being complicit in the scheme. This young man, who had once been held up as a paragon of what student athletes should be, seemed on the verge of disaster.

On Sept. 11, 2012 transiting Saturn was at 27Libra18, close in on a square to Te’o’s natal Saturn and 28Capricorn21, an important Saturn Cycle aspect. (Saturn completed the aspect 12 days later.) Hard aspects between transiting Saturn and a person’s natal Saturn represent a turning point in that person’s life. It is often accompanied by a significant test or challenge. For Te’o the real test did not come until a few months later when the scheme was uncovered.

Possibly because he had been dealing with Saturn, in the form of the archetype of the Teacher, all his life, Te’o passed this test. Even though the affair impacted at what level he was drafted into the NFL (and probably cost him millions) Te’o was able to play the game he loved as a professional. And he did this without animosity toward the person who had fooled him. The TV show seems to be less about a a hoaxer and a victim than a tale of an ill-fated love affair in which neither party had a chance of getting what they wanted.



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