In 2009 Jian Ghomeshi, then host of the CBC’s popular radio talk show Q was diagnosed with a general anxiety disorder. He began seeing a psychologist on a weekly basis to deal with a range of topics – feeling like an outsider because of his Iranian background, having trust issues, and just not feeling good enough about himself.
At the urging of his therapist, Ghomeshi purchased a teddy bear to replace a childhood toy and help him deal with his anxiety. Five years later, that teddy bear turned up in court testimony, when alleged victims of unsolicited rough sex claimed they’d seen the teddy bear in Ghomeshi’s bedroom. Just prior to one unsavory incident, a plaintiff recounted, Ghomeshi turned the teddy bear’s face into a corner, saying something to the effect, “Teddy shouldn’t see what I’m about to do to you.”
For the record, it should be noted that Ghomeshi was acquitted of all charges against him, ie, four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance by choking, as filed by three separate women. An additional charge of sexual assault was withdrawn after Ghomeshi posted a peace bond and made a formal apology to another alleged victim.
Despite his acquittal, Ghomeshi’s story reads something like that of Icarus, who flew too close to the sun, lost the glue in his man-made wings and plummeted back to earth.
Note: Astrodienst (astro.com) gives Ghomeshi’s birth time as 10 PM. But in my personal correspondence with John McKay-Clements, the Canadian astrologer who acquired the birth time from Ghomeshi himself, he says this was a transcription error on the part of Astrodienst. The actual birth time as reported by Ghomeshi was 11 PM.
Ghomeshi was born in England to Iranian parents who immigrated to Canada when he was seven. He struggled to fit in at his Toronto schools, always self-conscious about his appearance and his accent. He found solace in his love of music, especially Bowie, Rush and Talking Heads. At York University he was elected president of the student council but, during the same period, was also flagged as someone who’d allegedly hit a couple of other students, and once grabbed another guy by the genitals.
One salient feature of Ghomeshi’s chart, to which we’ll return more than once, is the graha yuddha, or planetary war, that exists between Jupiter and Venus. Planetary war arises when two of the true planets (Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, or Saturn) lie within one degree of longitude of each other. This creates a “crowding” effect wherein the planets are figuratively stepping on each other’s toes, the analogy of two strangers pressed up against each other in an otherwise empty elevator car. Because we all need our “space,” this is going to cause a problem for at least one if not both of the planets thus configured.
Note here that Jupiter is lord of the 1st and 4th, and as far as people in the life are concerned, it represents both Ghomeshi and his mother. But the 4th also rules a myriad of other things – general happiness, morality, domestic life, schooling, vehicles, fan base, etc.
By age sixteen, he’d joined the first of many bands with friends and schoolmates, singing and playing drums. He reached the pinnacle of that particular career arc in the mid-90s, when the political satire band Moxy Früvous went platinum in Canada, was nominated for a Juno award, and made an appearance on Late Night with Conan O’Brien.
After several years working as a journalist and emcee of various shows for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, in 2007 he became host of CBC’s weekday radio talk show Q. As host, the smooth-talking and mercurial Ghomeshi interviewed a range of musicians, artists, actors, and other notables including Woody Allen, Paul McCartney, Salman Rushdie, Barbara Walters, William Shatner, Jay-Z, and Leonard Cohen. By 2013, Q had a weekly audience of more than 2.5 million listeners in Canada and 550,000 in the United States.
Ghomeshi was flying high, secure in a dream job, basking in public adoration. But in 2014, his trajectory suffered a fatal collision with reality. The Toronto Star newspaper began working on a story wherein several women, both in CBC’s workplace and in his private life, alleged that he had behaved in disturbing ways. Having caught wind of the forthcoming story, Ghomeshi tried to get ahead of it by briefing his corporate bosses, showing them a string of lewd text messages and graphic personal sex videos, claiming that however edgy it might appear it had nonetheless all been consensual.
CBC’s response was to immediately fire Ghomeshi on grounds of sexual harassment in the workplace, and quickly distance itself from their former wunderkind. Ghomeshi filed a $55 million lawsuit for wrongful dismissal and misuse of confidential information, but a month later was obliged to withdraw the suit and reimburse CBC for its legal costs.
October 2014 was a terrible month for Ghomeshi. His beloved father died on October 2nd, and he was fired from the CBC on October 26th. He was at the time running Mercury-Venus. Note that Venus is the other planet involved in the graha yuddha with Jupiter. It rules the 6th house of employment and the 11th house of income, both of which were vaporized that month when Ghomeshi’s story became national news and the scandal made him an instant pariah.
Ironically, Saturn dasha had been very good for him. As a member of Moxy Früvous, he’d enjoyed national exposure in the music industry, their popularity peaking in 1994 with record sales, awards and media attention. At that time, Ghomeshi was running Saturn-Mercury. Saturn itself gives results for its nakshatra lord Mercury, which forms Pancha Mahapurusha Bhadra yoga in the 7th house. The conjoined influence of dasha and bhukti lords gave him all the acceptance and attention he’d craved throughout his school years.
But a few years after becoming host of the radio talk show Q, he entered his Mercury dasha, and things started to go sideways. Mercury occupies a nakshatra of Rahu in Ghomeshi’s chart, so in its periods it also invokes the notorious irregularity of the nodes. Note that Rahu occupies the 5th house of the critical mind, but Rahu is also a major proxy for Mars, which both aspects and disposits the node.
Further note that Mars, with dig bala in the 10th house, rules the 5th house of romance and the 12th house of “bed pleasures,” ie, sexual behavior. And it was this confluence of influences, particularly sexual harassment in the workplace, that had caused many coworkers to complain about Ghomeshi in the years since he’d assumed his role as host of Q. To their discredit, CBC had previously turned a deaf ear to those complaints until the Toronto Star story had leaked prior to breaking out as the Canadian media scandal of the decade.
In November 2014 Ghomeshi turned himself in to the Toronto Police and was charged with four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance by choking. In a subsequent hearing in January 2015 he was charged with three additional counts of sexual assault related to three more women. While awaiting trial, he was remanded to the custody of his mother, and banned from contacting any of his alleged victims.
This must have been a very profoundly tortured period for him. The irony is that his mother may well have been at the root of his psychological malaise. Consider the indications for the mother in this chart. The 4th lord Jupiter is in graha yuddha with Venus in the 8th house. The 4th house is occupied by Saturn and in mutual opposition with its natural enemy Mars. The Moon, karaka for the mother, is dark, being in only the second tithi after a new moon. All of this suggests a mother who was fickle, distant, and authoritarian, perhaps even abusive.
Ghomeshi had only one other sibling, an older sister. In any chart, the next-most-elder sibling is indicated by the 11th house. In Ghomeshi’s chart, the 11th lord is Venus, the other planet in the graha yuddha. We can thus regard the planetary war in an alternate light, seeing 1st lord Jupiter as Ghomeshi, while 11th lord Venus represents his sister. Graha yuddha invokes a war in which these two players vie for dominance. Although there are rules for judging the winner of such contests, the situation here is complex – Jupiter is brighter but Venus is higher in the sky – so we can assume both combatants suffer. In a real-life family drama, we might hypothesize that Ghomeshi’s mother favored her first-born daughter, leaving Ghomeshi to resent both females, and to bond emotionally with his father, whose implied dysfunctionality (9th lord and father karaka Sun in the 6th aspected only by Saturn) may have provoked a sympathetic self-identification.
This graha yuddha assumes even greater significance when we consider that it becomes the centerpiece in an analysis of the manas. The manas is a concept of Vedic psychology, wherein it represents the sense perceptions and, by extension, the likes and dislikes that develop as a consequence of sensual experience. This dance of raga versus dvesha, ie, the pursuit of pleasure vs avoidance of pain, subsequently becomes the basis for behavior and personality.
The checklist for a disturbed manas is as follows: (1) the lord of the 4th house is weak and/or badly placed and/or influenced by Saturn or the nodes, (2) Saturn or a node occupies or aspects the 4th house, and (3) the Moon, karaka for the manas, is weak and/or badly placed and/or influenced by Saturn or the nodes.
See Ghomeshi’s chart: (1) the 4th lord Jupiter is weakened by planetary war in the 8th house in a nakshatra of Saturn, (2) an afflicted Saturn occupies the 4th house, and (3) the Moon is dark and in a nakshatra of Rahu.
How does a disturbed manas manifest? In Ghomeshi’s case, there’s an obvious argument for suppressed rage. Traditional enemies Mars and Saturn oppose each other from the angles, and both aspect the ascendant. Aside from the sexual harassment in the workplace, Ghomeshi’s alleged victims claimed forcible sex, choking and closed-fist punching. He once declared to a colleague that he wanted to “hate-fuck” a co-worker.
Relationships with women were obviously a locus of his complicated emotional needs, but the prognosis for genuine intimacy is scant in his chart. The 1st lord Jupiter and 7th lord are in a 2/12 relationship, wherein the lagnesh is weak, the 7th lord strong. The 7th house is occupied only by the Moon and Mercury. The Moon is the most ephemeral of planets, suggesting something of a revolving door of love/sex interests, while a dark Moon implies little emotional depth. Meanwhile, although Mercury in its own sign can promote active engagement via conversation, repartee, flirting, etc, Mercury has traditionally been judged a poor marriage candidate, because Mercury signifies a juvenile, someone who is (emotionally) too young to sustain adult relationships and responsibilities.
None of these factors can be “blamed” for any single constellation of behaviors, but the sum total of their influences creates a bias for judgment. If we needed any final icing on the cake, we might note that both the Moon and Mercury occupy the nakshatra of Ardra. As students of the nakshatras might well know, Ardra is associated with tears, often as a result of deep conflicts between parent and child, feelings of abandonment and betrayal, and expressions of sadness and rage. Not only were many of Ghomeshi’s female coworkers reduced to tears by his behavior, but we can surmise that in the aftermath of the scandal, he too must have cried for all he had lost.
Ghomeshi was tried in February 2016, but acquitted of all charges. This occurred in Mercury-Sun. Note that the Sun delivers results, not only for itself as lord of the 9th in the 6th, but for its star-lord Mars as well. Despite public perception that he was likely “guilty” of unethical if not outright misogynistic behavior, the prosecution’s case was weak, the defense was very robust, and ultimately the judge ruled that the deception of witnesses had created such doubt as to render a guilty verdict unjustified.
A second trial of sexual assault was withdrawn when Ghomeshi posted a peace bond and offered a formal apology to the alleged victim. This was in Mercury-Moon. And then he dropped out of sight. He made an attempt at independent re-invention, launching The Ideation Project, a series of music and podcasts that received lackluster reviews.
Ghomeshi briefly returned to the news last month when the New York Review of Books published “Reflections from a Hashtag,” an essay by Ghomeshi alluding to the #metoo movement in which he admitted having been “emotionally thoughtless” and “too demanding” of his dates, meanwhile avoiding any genuine apology. A storm of public protest promptly arose, asking why someone like Ghomeshi should be given such a prestigious forum for a personal essay. The controversy provoked the immediate resignation of the NYRB editor and a formal apology to readers from the publisher, who vowed to exercise greater discretion in its editorial handling of any such future pieces.
Note how Ghomeshi’s core admission of having been “emotionally thoughtless” evokes again that dark Moon with Mercury in the Gemini 7th house. And in Ardra, it seems there are still more than enough tears to go around.
Alan Annand is a graduate of the American College of Vedic Astrology and a former tutor for the British Faculty of Astrological Studies. His New Age Noir crime novels (Scorpio Rising, Felonious Monk, Soma County) feature astrologer and palmist Axel Crowe, whom one reviewer has dubbed “Sherlock Holmes with a horoscope.”
He’s also the author of several non-fiction books. Stellar Astrology, Volumes 1 & 2, offer a wealth of time-tested techniques in the form of biographical profiles, analyses of world events, and technical essays. Parivartana Yoga is a reference text for one of the most common yet powerful planetary combinations in jyotish. Mutual Reception is an expanded companion volume for western practitioners, covering the same subject of planetary exchange through the lens of traditional astrology.
Websites: www.navamsa.com, www.sextile.com