On the day before the U.S. elections, I thought it fitting to examine what one man has done to win: Lance Armstrong. He has allegedly deceived and inveigled everyone in his personal and professional life, yet he continues to deny it. Though not a politician per se, he has thought of running for governor of Texas; he is known to be a friend to former President George W. Bush; he was previously engaged to the singer Sheryl Crow; he has multiple celebrity friends; and he is best known around the United States and the world for being one of the best athletes in history.
Unfortunately, his hubris and ambition have caused him, like Icarus, to “fly too close to the Sun.” Now he has been brought crashing down to earth in a drug doping scandal, the depth, breadth, and scope of which the sports world is just coming to grips. Let’s examine Armstrong’s chart, his prenatal eclipse, the upcoming eclipse, and his transits, to gain some insight into what has happened. Lance Armstrong was born September 19, 1971 in Plano, Texas. (1) The time is unknown, so his chart is Rodden Rated “X” and I am using a sunrise chart.
Armstrong demonstrated exceptional athletic ability at an early age, winning teen triathlons. He moved into the sport of cycling in his early 20s and would eventually go on to participate in the 2000 Olympics, several more triathlons, and, most notably, to win seven Tour de France titles. He was diagnosed with metastatic testicular cancer at the age of 25, underwent invasive treatment (though his chance of survival was low), and beat the odds to survive. It is this feat, and his subsequent winning of the Tour de France titles, that made him so famous. (2)
Although not the first hint of his involvement with doping, this past August Armstrong was accused by his former team (U.S. Postal) of having put in place a systematic scheme of doping for himself and everyone on the team; allegedly, the doping went back for years. All in all, 21 members of the team, from cyclists to doctors, have come forward to testify to the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). Subsequently, their evidence was used by the International Cycling Union (UCI) to ban Armstrong for life and to strip him of all titles won since August of 1998. (3)
First things first: his pre-natal eclipse
Lance’s pre-natal lunar eclipse (PNLE) is on August 6th, 1971 at 13° Aquarius. This eclipse occurred at the degree of his natal Mars-North Node conjunction and shows his capacity for exceptional athletic ability and the drive to succeed in the world (Mars conjunct North Node). Furthermore, having that conjunction on the point of the PNLE acts as a catalyst in his life. The eclipse gives an extra push to that conjunction, helping to propel Lance into the realm of extraordinary athletic ability and world-class status.
A few more words about Armstrong’s birth chart
As I mentioned earlier, his teammates have accused Armstrong of being the ringleader — organizing the entire doping scheme and also coercing them to participate. For someone born with Sun conjunct Pluto, this is not uncommon. Sue Tompkins writes in her book, Aspects in Astrology, about Sun-Pluto types: “These people often have a very powerful presence and can sometimes exert an extraordinary magnetic hold over people…” (4) Perhaps this explains why even though 21 people allegedly took part in the doping scheme, it took many years for everyone to come forward. It was only possible after Armstrong had retired from the team.
Armstrong and his attorney have strongly denied the allegations, refuting the legal authority of both the USADA and the UCI to do what they have done to Armstrong. In response to the scandal, Armstrong has replied that he is “focusing on the future.” (5) This is quite apropos for someone with a tight Jupiter-Neptune conjunction. Lance may have always been running or biking, always trying to get away from something (an escape route, if you will), in a bid for personal freedom. Though this aspect is found in humanitarians — and Armstrong is one — it is also found in those who dream large and often have their bubbles burst. People with this combination run the risk of not facing up to reality, after creating a fantasy world that comes crumbling down around them.
The breaking of the scandal
The Armstrong scandal first broke on August 24th of this year. Almost three months later, on November 28th, there will be a lunar eclipse at 6° Gemini, exactly on Lance Armstrong’s Saturn. This is a South Node lunar eclipse, which indicates that something is coming to a peak, in this case, a negative peak that needs to be released. In the end, though, it may turn out to be a good thing for Lance that this scandal has come to light; it all depends on how he uses this time period and how he sees this event.
The passing of the South Node over Saturn indicates a diminishing of that planet and the house it rules. Saturn represents our careers and our standing in the world, and lessons to be learned. It also indicates how disciplined and ambitious we are, how hard we work, how we seek recognition and fame, and how well we carry our responsibilities — in short, how we structure our lives. Transiting South Node passed over Armstrong’s natal Saturn in the spring of 2012, signifying that he was due for a change of fortune regarding any of these matters, or even a change of career. (6)
In order to further peel back the onion layers of Armstrong’s chart, I took a look at his midpoints. In September, when his teammate Tyler Hamilton published a tell-all book, the second of seven exact Uranus-Pluto squares was applying at 7° Aries/Capricorn, respectively.
Armstrong has two very important midpoints at 7° of the cardinal signs. The first is Neptune/North Node at 7° Capricorn, which was conjoined by transiting Pluto in September. According to Noel Tyl’s book, Solar Arcs, a hard transit of Pluto to this midpoint (Neptune/NN suggests possible breakdowns in relationships) is a time of “difficulty blending personal perspective with others’ views.” This is combined with a hard aspect of Uranus: “self-willed motives disrupt group ideas.” (7)
One could easily expand on these midpoint interpretations to explain why Armstrong is depicted in teammate Hamilton’s book as a willful person; the group didn’t want to go along with him, but Armstrong would kick any member who wouldn’t comply with his doping scheme off the team. Herein lies the rub of not taking into account other’s views and opinions.
Armstrong’s other important midpoint, activated at the time of the book’s publication, was Venus/Uranus at 7° Libra. Tyl describes this midpoint as “being appreciated, desired,” but with Pluto squaring it, Tyl adds “potential notoriety.” (8) If we expand on the darker energy of Pluto, we can add “undesirable, no longer appreciated,” and, with the opposition of Uranus, all of it precipitously.
“Focusing on the future”
Lance said he was focusing on the future as this scandal broke, and as an astrologer, so am I; let’s look at his upcoming transits. Currently Lance is experiencing the first of his two midlife crisis transits: Neptune square Neptune. Because his natal Neptune is one degree from natal Jupiter, the effects of this transit will most likely be somewhat mitigated. During this transit, we often begin to ask deep questions about how well we have lived our lives so far, and whether we have fulfilled our dreams. We may decide to make major changes if we are not satisfied with the answers. The downside of a Neptune transit is that people don’t necessarily think clearly under its influence, yet they think they do.
With Neptune also squaring his natal Jupiter, Lance may be even more overconfident than he already is natally, perhaps thinking that he can’t lose, and feeling he has no limitations or restrictions. Let us hope he puts this transit to good use.
Uranus and Pluto are not done with him yet. Armstrong’s second midlife crisis transit begins next year: Uranus opposition Uranus (June 2013 – February 2015). As we know, the Uranus opposition to natal Uranus is one of the most important transits in a lifetime; it feels more like a crisis than Neptune square Neptune. We become aware that we are no longer young, that we have missed certain opportunities, and our time is running out fast. But Armstrong’s second midlife transit comes with a twist due to his exact natal Chiron-Uranus opposition. With transit Uranus conjunct natal Chiron while opposing natal Uranus (May 2013 – February 2015), Lance may have to deal unexpectedly with old wounds that have never healed properly, or possibly the emergence of new injuries or illnesses.
After that, Pluto will square his natal Uranus (January 2014 – November 2015) and Chiron (May 2013 – October 2015). Though these are generational transits, I nonetheless feel that because he is such a huge cultural icon, he may become a public symbol of how these transits manifest for his generation, and maybe even for our nation.
As we know, people in the public eye often become agents for social change. It is interesting to note that a major U.S. transit — Uranus and Pluto aligning with the U.S. Sun in April 2014 — will occur in the midst of Armstrong’s major midlife transits (9) How well he deals with this scandal (truth and reconciliation vs. further deception and obfuscation) may well reflect how our country deals with its upcoming transits and this very same issue.
There is more that could be discovered about Lance Armstrong’s chart. Unfortunately, without his exact time of birth, much of it would be of a speculative nature. I chose to write this article now to present the notion that we ought to strive for a country (and a world) that does not idolize athletes or persons who go to any lengths, however perverse, to win. On the day before the U.S. elections, how to accomplish that end is something not just to ponder, but also to act upon.
(4) Sue Tompkins, Aspects in Astrology, Destiny Books, Rochester, VT, 2002, p. 124-9.
(6) Judith Hill, Vocational Astrology, American Federation of Astrologers, Tempe, AZ, 1997, p. 82-4.
(7) Noel Tyl, Solar Arcs, Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, MN, p. 446.
(8) ibid., p. 413.
(9) Robert Hand, Planets in Transit
Bio: Audra Stenger started in astrology over 15 years ago while working as a paramedic. She holds a B.Sc. in Physician’s Assistant. She currently has a full time astrology practice near Santa Fe, New Mexico. She loves astrology because it explains the unexplainable, and finds that it provides a wisdom that nothing else can. Her website is Yellow Lotus Arts, and her e-mail is info@YellowLotusArts.com.