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of John Kennedy


This article appeared in the January 2000 issue of the N.C.G.R. newsletter

John Kennedy Jr. had always lived as a creature of the public because of the celebrity of his family, particularly his father, the assassinated president. But with his own death as well as his wife and sister-in-law on the night of July 16, 1999, his life was re-examined by around-the-clock television coverage until the bodies were recovered four days later.

Kennedy took off in his single engine, six-passenger airplane with his wife Carolyn and her sister Lauren, from Essex County airport at Fairfield, New Jersey on July 16 at 8:38 p.m. Their trip to the island of Martha's Vineyard was expected to take little more than an hour. They cruised at 5600 feet and flew most of the way in darkness and over water. At 9:26 p.m.. according to the Associated Press, Kennedy was off Westerly, Rhode Island making toward Martha's Vineyard across Block Island Sound. At 9:40 p.m., Kennedy's plane at 2500 feet, was picked up on radar eighteen miles west of the airport on Martha's Vineyard. Approximately twenty seconds later, radar pegged Kennedy's altitude at 2200 feet; at 9:40:24 the plane was at 1900 feet; at 9:40:29 it was at 1600 feet, and when it passed below the level of the radar at 9:40:34, Kennedy's plane had fallen to 1100 feet. That is a rate of descent of 4,700 feet per minute, well beyond a normal rate of descent. It is presumed that the plane was out of control, or in the absence of visual cues, Kennedy, flying east with the Moon behind him low in the west, may have become disoriented, unable to make out the horizon on a dark and hazy night. He may, therefore, have flown under control into the ocean not suspecting that he was in a much steeper descent than he intended. Kennedy was not instrument rated, i.e., he wasn't well versed in the use of his artificial horizon and other instruments necessary for night flying. Unless his airplane suffered a mechanical failure, his decision to take off on a hazy evening at dusk to fly over water with only a three day old Moon and without an instrument rating, was fatal.

John Jr. was born on Thanksgiving day, November 25, 1960 at Washington D.C. His birth time has been offered in various sources as 12:20 a.m., 12:21 a.m.,12:22 a.m., and 12:23 a.m. Life Magazine (Life, special edition, August, 1999: 4) gives 12:23 a.m.. which is used here (see chart # 1 given in the sidereal zodiac).

At first glance there isn't an obvious indication of impending disaster. There are no transiting malefic planets in the angles of the natus at the birthplace or the natus equated to the neighborhood of the crash site (41° N 20' & 70° W 50'). The following transits to the natal Sun were in play: transiting Neptune was sextile the natal Sun separating from 1/4° out; transiting Mars was semi-sextile the natal Sun separating from 1° out; transiting Jupiter was inconjunct the natal Sun applying from 1° out; transiting Venus was square the natal Sun applying from 1 and 1/3° out. These are not death-dealing combinations. The natal Moon is similarly unafflicted, at least in longitude, although there was at death a mundane square between transiting Pluto and the natal Moon that was only slightly more than 1⁄2° from exact at the crash site (which is slightly more than 1⁄2° north of his residence). Occasionally the transit of Pluto to the Moon can signify an assault on one's person—planned, as in surgery, or unplanned as in a fight or accident, if other factors concur. Most often however, it manifests as ordinary domestic disharmony or family disruption, as when your mother-in-law moves in, your wife or children move out, your house requires repair or you undergo psychotherapy to get at repressed damage from your childhood. It is not known how the transit of Pluto to his natal Moon by mundane square was affecting John Kennedy Jr., only that it had been in play off and on for more than a year.

Since almost everyone at all times has transits in play that are both troublesome and auspicious, it is often helpful to examine conditions that are only likely to obtain once, if at all in the life, to sort out the general tone of the year. A good place to start is primary directions, one of the main predictive tools of medieval astrologers. It is noteworthy that for the 12:23 time, JFK Jr.'s primary directed I.C. came to his natal Jupiter in Sagittarius in 1989, when he graduated from law school. Jupiter well placed in its own sign Sagittarius, is good symbolism for the legal profession. A substantial family fortune is also indicated since this dignified Jupiter is in the fourth house and closely trine Pluto. Equally noteworthy, JFK Jr.'s primary directed I.C. came to his natal Venus in 1996 when he married Carolyn Bessette, a thoroughly patrician woman, consistent with Kennedy's Venus in Sagittarius in the fifth house.

More to the point at hand, JFK Jr.'s natal Saturn in Sagittarius fell angular, once again at the I.C. by primary direction in 1999. Such a year is often a hard and unfortunate one, unless strongly tinged by Jupiter at the same time. The broadcast networks spoke continuously about the fall of our "prince," our de facto American royalty when JFK Jr. died. Sagittarius is a royal sign and the people who have stellia in that constellation have something special about them even if it is only celebrity by an accident of birth. The primary direction would have been exact in November of 1999, but primaries are in effect for about a year. They don't have to be precise to work, just in the neighborhood, which is why they are so good as rectification tools. Primaries are very birth time sensitive but are general indicators for an extended period, usually more so on the applying side of the exact contact. JFK Jr.s primary direction to his natal Saturn is done as follows:

  04h 31m 34s = R.A.M.C. (local sidereal time) of natus

+12h 00m 00s

  16h 31m 34s = R.A.I.C.


 19h 07m 27s = R.A. natal Saturn*

-16h 31m 34s = R.A.I.C.

 02h 35m 53s = meridian distance between I.C. and natal Saturn


 2h 35m 53s = 155.88333m

 155.88333 minutes = 38.97


The meridian distance is divided by 4 because there are four minutes in a degree. The result, 38.97 degrees, is the age in years at which the primary direction matures.

  38.97 = years after birth when primary direction of Saturn is exact

+1960.9 = the birth year and elapsed portion of that year on birthday

  1999.87 = November 1999

Accordingly, there was a transit of Saturn that developed in 1999 imbued with more than usual signification, indeed, an ominous portent because of natal Saturn's emphasis by primary direction this year: Kennedy had a close mundane square between natal Saturn and natal Neptune. At the birthplace it was 1 and 2/3° from exact, i.e. Saturn rose only 1 and 2/3° before Neptune culminated in the M.C. At the latitude of the of the crash the natal Saturn-Neptune mundane square was less than 1/5° from the exact to the second contact. Transiting Saturn became involved with this natal Saturn-Neptune combination in the spring of 1999.

The demi-solar return shows the pattern of the second six months of the birthday to birthday year. It is a supplement to the solar return. When Kennedy's demi-solar return opened on May 25 1999, transiting Saturn was angular at the I.C., which replicated the condition of the primary directed Saturn at the I.C. in the natus, operational at the same time. The natal Saturn-Neptune combination was in the ascendent and M.C. of the demi-solar with frightening proximity:

natal Saturn rose at Martha's Vineyard with a RAMC of:     14h 34m 22s (ex precessed)

the Right Ascension of the demi-solar Saturn was:                  2h 34m 07s (in the I.C.)

the Right Ascension of natal Neptune was:                             14h 33m 43s (ex precessed)

These three positions are separated by 39 seconds of time. Transiting Saturn involved in a natal Saturn- Neptune mundo square clearly points to mistakes and bad judgment coming home to roost. Since the crash took place in the second half of the birthday to birthday year, this relationship appeared in the demi-solar (see chart # 2).

The solar return has natal Jupiter setting and solar return Jupiter in the foreground of the tenth house which looks like a promising year but the solar return Moon is in Capricorn, its detriment, generally an unwelcome placement, signifying trouble in one's day to day affairs. Natal Mars is rising in the first house and solar return Mars is in the fourth. The two Mars' are mundane square at Martha's Vineyard, and when the solar return is progressed by the solar quotidian rate to the time of death, transiting Mars appears 1⁄2° from the progressed M.C. of the solar return. When Mars becomes prominent, if transiting Saturn is also strong, an accident or trauma is often the result.

Kennedy's lunar return that began on July 3, 1999, has angles similar to the demi-solar: transiting Saturn was less than one degree from the I.C., directly opposite JFK Jr.'s natal Neptune and natal Mercury in the M.C., while natal Saturn occupied the ascendant and natal Mars was setting (see chart #3). At the time of the crash, transiting Saturn was a few seconds more than 1⁄2° from the exact to the second of arc mundane square to ex precessed natal Mars.

The precise event was timed by the cyclic chart closest to it in time: the demi-lunar return that began thirty-one hours before the crash and which all but confirms the birth time (see chart #4). This chart has 9° Libra 19' on the ascendent and demi-lunar Mars at 9° Libra 12', but the demi-lunar Mars had been above the descendent in mundo for two minutes (of time in right ascension) when the chart became operational. Transiting Mars at the time of the crash had 9° Libra 44'. When transiting Mars caught up with the progressed ascendent of the demi-lunar in mundo, the plane crashed. The progression is shown below:

 7h 43m 51s = R.A. Apparent Sun for crash

-7h 38m 32s = R.A. Apparent Sun of the demi-lunar

 0h 05m 19s = elapsed R.A. Apparent Sun

+8h 53m 35s = R.A.M.C. of the demi-lunar

  8h 58m 54s = progressed demi-lunar R.A.M.C.

  8h 58m 43s = R.A.M.C. with which transiting Mars would rise for

  9:40:34 p.m. EDT on July 16, 1999 at 41° N 20'.

These things result in death, rather than injury or some lesser event, generally only when there is a tremendous accumulation of factors. In addition to all of the above, the transiting Sun at the time of death was mundane square Kennedy's ex precessed natal Neptune, 1⁄2° from exact; and transiting Jupiter was 1/8° from the exact mundo square to Kennedy's natal Mars. The former symbolizes confusion, miscalculation or oversight and the latter, overconfidence and ill-considered behavior. Excepting mechanical failure, there is no other conclusion that can be drawn from Kennedy's rash decision to undertake a night flight without an instrument rating. The confluence of all these factors was symbolic of JFK Jr.'s regrettable fate.

© Kenneth Bowser, 2000, all rights reserved.

* The right ascension values (abbreviated here to 'R.A.') were taken from the American Ephemeris and Nautical Almanac for the Year 1960. This ephemeris, published annually by the U.S. government since 1855, was combined with the (British) Nautical Almanac and Astronomical Ephemeris (published by the British government annually since 1767) in 1981 and retitled, The Astronomical Almanac. The 1999 positions in R.A. were taken from the Astronomical Almanac for the year 1999.

John F. Kennedy Jr. Astrology Chart
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