The lies of Brian Williams: Mars under affliction

(9 February 2015)  Brian Williams finds himself in a lot of hot water at the moment.  The respected anchor of the NBC Nightly News has been caught out in a lie, or as they say in current damage control media parlance, a "misremembered" fact about his experience in the Iraq War in 2003. He had claimed to have been shot at and forced down while riding in a helicopter only to have that story exposed as false by US servicemen who were present at the time.  The scandal forced Williams to make a on-air apology last Wednesday.  Unfortunately, this seemed to only make matters worse as perceptions were that Williams did not come clean with the public. Other claims are now also being questioned as Williams may have embellished the truth while covering stories such as Hurricane Katrina.  Williams has taken a voluntary leave from NBC and canceled a Thursday appearance on the David Letterman show.   With their trust in him now broken, polls suggest that 80% of the public want him to resign.   Where did it all go wrong? 

We do not know the birth time of Brian Williams but we do know that he was born on May 5, 1959 in Ridgewood, NJ.  First off, let me say it is very difficult to pinpoint a specific natal placement that suggests dishonesty and lack of integrity.  Some say that Jupiter is the seat of personal integrity but we should note that this is only one factor out of several.  For its part, Jupiter is retrograde in Scorpio but unafflicted.  However, Scorpio is ruled by Mars which is opposite Saturn, a possible weakness that is fed back to Jupiter.  Saturn has a tendency to distort and devalue whatever it touches, so that is one plausible source of weakness for Mars and, by extension through rulership, to Jupiter. 

And we would be remiss if we did not examine the planets in Jupiter's signs -- Sagittarius and Pisces.  Saturn is in Sagittarius and thus this can be a blemish for Jupiter and open up the possibility for a lack of principles.  Pisces contains malefic Ketu (ungroundedness) and a debilitated Mercury (uninhibited thinking).  This may also be a source of wavering or uncertainty in terms of Jupiter's portfolio of "right action".  The Moon may or may not be placed in Pisces since it is placed at the end of the sign and could just as easily be in Aries if Williams' was born in the evening.  Of course, without his birth time, it is difficult to make a full accounting of his chart and therefore any possible personality flaws should remain a matter of idle conjecture.

It is more illuminating to look at key transit influences at the time in his chart.  These show considerable affliction that would likely correspond with a very stressful situation that causes personal harm.  First and foremost, his natal Mars (21 Gemini) is under the double affliction of both Pluto (20 Sagittarius) and Uranus (19 Pisces).  Both of these aspects are "hard" and therefore more likely to correlate with an untoward event.  Mars itself is malefic and does take kindly to hard aspects from these slow-moving outer planets.  Both of these transits have been close for the last year or so and will continue to reflect a negative period in Williams' life for many months to come. 

But we may ask why would these afflictions to Mars correlate with a career setback?  Mars is archetypally related to matters of force and violence therefore couldn't one say that some kind of physical suffering might be more likely?  It's definitely true that Mars afflictions are more associated with the body and injury but in this case we should note that Mars is in Gemini, the planet of communication -- he is a newsreader, after all.  Perhaps more importantly, look at the planets in Mars-ruled signs.  The Sun is in Aries so all that affliction to Mars feeds back to the Sun and attacks his ego and vitality.  His public profile is represented by the Sun so all that Mars trouble may well manifest as damaging to his ego and his job. Scorpio is also ruled by Mars, and Jupiter is in Scorpio.  Jupiter rules integrity and reputation therefore it is not hard to see that these Mars afflictions would undermine his name and reputation in his career. Admittedly, I'm taking simplifying greatly here but without the birth time, this kind of gap-filling is often necessary to compose a plausible picture.

We can look to faster moving planets as catalysts for this scandal blowing up now. Transiting Saturn had just conjunct his natal Jupiter in December and will return to the 'scene of the crime' in the spring after it turns retrograde in March. Saturn's affliction to Jupiter is a more obvious planetary combination for this scandal as Saturn symbolizes failure, obstacles and distortions and Jupiter stands for truth and justice.

Rounding out the picture is the nodal return of Rahu to its natal position, now just a couple of degrees past exact.  These Rahu-to-Rahu alignments are usually times of turbulence in life, although they needn't always be negative.  But when the other transits are more difficult as is the case here, they usually signal trouble.

Now it seems the question is whether Williams will have to resign from his position.  It is hard to say if or when this will happen based solely on an untimed horoscope.  There are so many factors to consider that we can only make a few general statements.  I think that Williams will likely suffer further embarrassment during the Saturn retrograde period from March to July as Saturn will again cross over his natal Jupiter at 5 Scorpio.  This may include resignation but it could conceivably be other revelations that further damage his reputation.  More specifically, I have to think that the Mars-Uranus conjunction on March 11th could be a focus of difficulty for him as it will square up against his natal Mars.  This could represent a sudden or intense moment of injurious humiliation which could mean his resignation or even some other worse indignity. 

March is also highlighted because the Saturn station at 10 Scorpio will form a 135 degree Western quincunx aspect with his Mercury (136 degrees actually).  This looks problematic for employment as Mercury is more often connected with work issues.  I have no strong opinions about whether he will resign but his chart does seem to worsen in the coming weeks.  Perhaps the scandal will affect other aspects of his life, I don't know.   Astrology notwithstanding, resignation seems inevitable just based on the popular mood so his attempt to wait it out may be futile. The astrology would suggest that his current troubles will continue for weeks, if not months, to come.