Bill Cosby is a groundbreaking figure in American race relations. His comedic stylings, suave appearance, and portrayal of an affluent, intelligent and “non-threatening” African American male, at once himself and centered in his ethnicity while seeming just like the guy next door, made a very powerful impact on an American psyche just emerging from the turmoil of the ‘60s, when Malcolm X, the Black Panthers, and urban riots were the predominant white images of black culture. Cosby never apologized for his heritage, but he “outgrew” it as well, showing white middle-class Americans that the new black families then beginning to inhabit the suburbs could be successful, self-supporting, articulate people, just like they imagined themselves to be.
Cosby initially made a name for himself in stand-up comedy, but his casting in the 1965 espionage adventure series “I Spy” made him the first African American to co-star in a network TV show. His eponymous “The Cosby Show”, running on NBC from 1984-1992, was the most popular in the nation for five years, from 1985-1989, and showcased a highly affluent black family, with both parents working professionals, in contrast to earlier portrayals of struggling or economically deprived African Americans, ghettoized and stigmatized. The show became the highest rated sitcom ever. He also created the “Fat Albert” character and TV cartoon show, a Saturday morning staple for children of all races and ethnicities in the ‘70s, which was used as a teaching instrument in classrooms across America.
In later life, Cosby became something of a scold, decrying the lack of family values, morals, and a lack of priority on education in the African American community, as well what he saw as the overly aggressive, foul-mouthed comedy of younger black performers. Married in 1964 to Camille Hanks, the couple has remained together for 50 years, despite acknowledged affairs by Cosby, and more recently, a stunning series of allegations of sexual assault, some dating back more than 40 years.
For Bill Cosby, once viewed as “America’s Dad” (in a 2004 TV Guide poll), apparently has a very dark side indeed. Although isolated allegations of sexual assault were made as early as 2005, these were largely sidelined and ignored by the media, until a YouTube performance by comic Hannibal Buress, calling Cosby a rapist, went viral in the autumn of 2014. The floodgates opened wide, and as of this writing (mid-December 2014), more than two dozen women have come forward to accuse Bill Cosby of rape or sexual assault, often preceded by his drugging them. These include many “ordinary” women, struggling artists in their day whom Cosby allegedly lured with a promise of mentoring, but also such famous names as supermodels Janice Dickinson and Beverly Johnson, the first black woman on the cover of American “Vogue”.
The timing of this outbreak of allegations couldn’t be more apt. Born 12:30 AM EDT on 12 July 1937 in Philadelphia, PA (Rodden rating A), Bill Cosby’s Midheaven, the point governing reputation and standing in the world, falls at 11 Capricorn 01. Transiting Pluto, arbiter of scandals and sexual matters, has been playing tag with that point since 2013, making five exact conjunctions in that time, and its direct station on September 22, 2014, about three weeks before Buress’ rant went viral, fell at 11 Capricorn 00, just a minute of arc off exact. It was time for the public to take notice, and they did. Within weeks of the first rush of accusers, NBC announced they were shelving a new Cosby sitcom then in development, TV Land network stopped airing reruns of “The Cosby Show”, and Temple University, Cosby’s alma mater upon whose board of trustees he served, cut all ties.
Cosby has consistently refused to address the allegations directly, simply denying them through his lawyer. Since the statute of limitations has run on most of these incidents, criminal charges are no longer possible. It’s important to remember that Cosby has never been charged, let alone convicted, of any sexual crime, and in our legal system, innocence is assumed until guilt is proven.
But we don’t live in a vacuum, or a courtroom. The court of public opinion seems to have shifted firmly against Cosby, pronouncing him “likely guilty.” Let’s take a look at what the stars have to say about the matter.
Bill Cosby has several signatures of one destined for greatness, and several other indicators of a troubled psyche. The Sun at 19 Cancer opposes Jupiter, arbiter of fame, reputation and expansion, at 22 Capricorn, where it appears in the Tenth House of career, a solid indicator of success at work. Sun/Jupiter can be the signature of one who goes to excess, pushing the envelope and assuming a larger-than-life persona. It also confers that sort of “urbane” quality to Cosby, a character feature most notable in his early work, but still shining through when he moved into paternal roles and pudding commercials.
Cosby’s Fourth House Sun reflects the focus of his comedy, rooted in family and home, and is also part of an extended stellium including Mercury at 23 Cancer and Pluto at 28. Sun/Mercury is a gifted communicator, and in Cancer, this can be done with sensitivity and empathy.
However, Pluto at the tail end of this broad conjunction suggests a deeper side to Cosby, one hidden or veiled from the public, actions performed in secret which do not redound to his credit. There can be sexual obsession, manipulation, a fascination for the taboo or forbidden. Nine degrees past the Sun, it’s hard to see this clearly in Cosby at first glance, but it’s there, percolating under the surface.
The Sun/Jupiter opposition becomes a T-Square when we factor in TNO Varuna at 14 Aries, asteroid Eros at 25 Aries, and asteroid Thalia at 27 Aries. Although Varuna does not conjoin the other two, all three are within broad orb of squares to both points in the opposition, and lend their unique flavors to the mix. Varuna is noted for the legacy we create, and leave behind us. Eros governs romantic passion, as well “a passion for” whatever intrigues or excites us in life. Cosby’s apparently still erotic waters seem to have run far deeper than most imagined, but his passion for his work is obvious and contagious. Thalia is named for the ancient Greek muse of comedy, and its pairing with Eros defines where Cosby’s passion lies.
Mars, governing sexuality, lies at 20 Scorpio in a very tight trine to the natal Sun, suggesting an easy flow of sexual energies within Cosby’s psyche, and a gift for success with whatever endeavor he chooses to turn his hand to. Strong in the sign it rules, Mars in Scorpio can be secretive, maintaining a hidden, often unsuspected life in sexual matters. Cosby’s Mars is also enhanced by being fresh from its direct station, which occurred at 19 Scorpio just two weeks before his birth, denoting an entrenchment of Mars issues in his psyche. There is also a strong pull toward unorthodox or eccentric sexual expression given the opposition to natal Uranus at 13 Taurus. In March 2014, transit Saturn turned retrograde at 23 Scorpio, conjoined natal Mars, and calling Cosby to account for his prior sexual actions; Saturn returned to 20 Scorpio in late September and early October 2014, as Pluto stationed on his MC and Hannibal Buress honed his act, just weeks before the scandal broke.
Transit Mars’ recent retrograde period was a factor in Cosby’s unmasking as well. From its retrograde station at 27 Libra on March first (in tandem with Saturn’s the following day) Mars tightly squared natal Pluto, going back into Cosby’s sexual history (the retrograde itself) and pattern of coercion, manipulation and rape (all Pluto, including his role as the rapist-cum-spouse of Proserpina, the Roman Persephone).
Venus, ruling relationships, love and romance, falls at 4 Gemini, and broadly opposes TNO Salacia at 10 Sagittarius. Salacia is named for a Roman goddess of the sea, wife of Neptune, and is the root of our word “salacious”, meaning to convey undue sexual interest or prurience. Venus in Gemini naturally inclines to more than one partner, whether that be serially or simultaneously, and afflicted with Salacia, can make it difficult to remain faithful within the bonds of matrimony. There is a constant pull toward a romanticized, fantasy-driven image of what is desired, fueled by a hyper-sexuality, a tension between what one is supposed to do, and what one truly wants, or thinks he wants. On November 15, at the height of the scandal, transit Neptune came to its direct station at 4 Pisces, in exact square to natal Venus, highlighting Cosby’s relationship choices, with a special focus on the deception and drugging of the women he assaulted, with both these themes Neptune-ruled.
Natal Neptune at 16 Virgo is strongly placed, conjunct the Moon at 11 Virgo (and thus binding together themes of women and drugs generally, as well as the likelihood of a fantasy-based or unrealistic image of females) and squared TNO Salacia, further emphasizing sexual fantasy and a sense of insatiability in sexual matters. Sextile the Sun, Neptune’s influence in Cosby’s overall makeup should not be underestimated.
Primary asteroid markers of rape and drug abuse among secondary celestial factors include two points named for mythic Greek rapists, or would-be rapists, and three others indicative of intoxicants. Asteroids Aristaeus and centaur Nessus are named for figures who are among the most notorious rapists in Greek myth. Aristaeus attempted to rape Orpheus’ wife Eurydice, who in fleeing his embrace trod upon a poisonous serpent which bit her, causing her death. Centaur Nessus offered Heracles’ wife Deianira a ride across a river, but also attempted to molest her when they reached the other side. Heracles shot an arrow across the river and slew him.
In Bill Cosby’s nativity, asteroid Aristaeus appears prominently at 19 Capricorn, conjunct Jupiter (a deity already noted for his innumerable infidelities, a less attractive Jovian attribute often ignored by astrologers) and opposed the Sun exactly. The exact opposition funnels this energy directly into Cosby’s core—it is always a potential part of him, waiting to be awakened; the contact with Jupiter inflates these tendencies and eventually, makes them obvious to all. Nessus at 29 Aries conjoins Thalia, spelling out “comedic rapist” in fairly obvious terms, for those who know where to look. Its square to Pluto deepens its impression on Cosby’s psyche, adding a level of control and manipulation to the mix.
The factors suggestive of chemical or substance abuse are asteroids Dionysus and Bacchus, respectively the Greek and Roman gods of alcohol, ecstatic, drug-induced trance or delirium, and sexual excess or libertinism; and asteroid Panacea, a daughter of the healing god Asclepius whose bailiwick was medicines, thus relating to drugs or pharmaceuticals of all kinds. Panacea appears most unfortunately at 21 Capricorn, snugly fitting between Aristaeus and Jupiter, and also opposing the Sun, linking the themes of coerced sexual contact (Aristaeus), drug use (Panacea) and excess or infidelity (both Jupiter). Dionysus falls at 17 Cancer, closely conjunct the Sun itself, thus providing a formative influence on Cosby’s character, while Bacchus lies at 28 Aquarius, conjoined Damocles (that doom hanging unseen overhead) and exactly inconjunct Pluto.
Beginning with his wife Camille, a surprising number of Cosby’s alleged victims have PNAs (Personal-Named Asteroids) representing them, which fit neatly into the patterns described above. Camille appears as asteroid Camilla (#107), which at 29 Scorpio conjoins Cosby’s Mars and opposes Venus, a sure indicator of sexual and intimate ties. Cosby’s most famous accusers, Janice Dickinson and Beverly Johnson, are represented by asteroids Janice (#2324), which at 15 Virgo conjoins the Moon/Neptune combination and Dickinson (#5272), which at 24 Virgo is just pulling away from Neptune and lies at the apex of a Yod, or Finger of Destiny, with Bacchus and Nessus; and asteroid Johnson (#5905), which at 15 Pisces opposes Moon/Neptune.
But is this Moon/Neptune manifesting as deception practiced against women, or lies proceeding from them? Either can apply, but if we take the stance that these women are “passive” participants as foci of energies in Cosby’s chart, rather than “actively” intruding on an opening granted them by natal chart “coincidence”, then it seems more likely they are “more sinned against than sinning.”
Andrea Constand, the first woman to allege that Cosby assaulted her, drugging and fondling her in 2004, is represented by asteroid Andree (#1296), which at 10 Gemini in Cosby’s birth chart falls conjunct Venus and exactly opposed Salacia. Although her accusation was made in a timely fashion, it was deemed unsupported by sufficient evidence by the local Philadelphia prosecutor, who did not pursue the case. Constand filed a civil suit instead, and shortly after, other women came forward to testify to a similar pattern of abuse extending back over decades. In all, a total of 13 women are cited in Constand’s civil suit as assaulted by Cosby. Initially, most of these are listed as “Jane Doe”s.
Two of the earliest to go public with their stories were Tamara Green and Beth Ferrier, represented by asteroids Tamara (#326), which at 7 Leo conjoins natal Persephone (mythically noted for her own rape by Hades) at 10 Leo and trine Salacia, and Green (#12016), which at 12 Virgo once again conjoins Moon/Neptune; and asteroid Bethe (#30828), which at 8 Taurus squares Persephone, conjoins Uranus, and is inconjunct Salacia. Barbara Bowman was the next to identify herself, represented by asteroid Barbara (#234), which at 11 Virgo is yet another accretion of the Moon/Neptune pairing, and asteroid Bowman (#2996), which falls at 15 Cancer, conjunct Cosby’s Sun.
Even Hannibal Buress, the stand-up comic whose “Cosby’s a rapist” riff went viral on YouTube and prompted a reexamination of the allegations, has a role to play in Cosby’s birth chart. Appearing as asteroid Hannibal (#2152) at 29 Libra, he squares natal Pluto at 28 Cancer, becoming a point of potential destruction or disaster, a transformational figure with a deep, pervasive impact. The Mars station fell closely conjunct this point, laying the groundwork for the debacle to follow. When Buress’ act was recorded on October 16, asteroid Hannibal at 25 Libra was approaching a return to its natal degree, reigniting the Mars retrograde station from the previous March, squaring Cosby’s Sun and Pluto, and opposed his Varuna (legacy).
Transit Varuna itself is tied to the pattern from its station retrograde degree of 27 Cancer, conjunct Cosby’s natal Pluto, squared Eros/Thalia, and once again activating the Mars retrograde degree which brought up all of Cosby’s sordid sexual history. Varuna, testing the veracity of Cosby’s legacy, remained at 27 Cancer from mid-August 2014 through mid-January 2015, with its station date October 30, just two weeks after Buress was recorded, and barely three weeks before Cosby’s world imploded on November 19 with his repudiation by NBC, TV Land, and Temple University.
Not only that, but transit Hannibal was traveling with transit asteroid Achilles (a point representing weakness, vulnerability, or self-undoing) at 26 Libra, sextile transit asteroid Karma (the results of our actions) at 26 Sagittarius, and exactly opposing transit asteroid Pandora (unleashing of unexpected, dire consequences) at 25 Aries. All the celestial bases were covered.
After that, the dam broke. More than a dozen additional women came forward, alleging a pattern of abuse going back to the ‘70s and ‘80s. Among them were
- Therese Serignese, represented by asteroid Teresa (#11350), which at 16 Aries in Cosby’s nativity T-Squares his Jupiter/Aristaeus/Panacea opposed Sun;
- Linda Joy Traitz, with asteroid Linda (#7169) at 18 Leo squared Mars;
- Kristina Ruehli, with asteroid Christine (#628) at 4 Sagittarius conjunct Salacia and exactly opposed Venus;
- Renita Hill, with asteroid Renate (#575) at 5 Sagittarius making the sane aspects and asteroid Hill (#1642) at 0 Pisces conjunct Bacchus;
- Judy Huth, with asteroid Judith (#664) at 19 Aries exactly squared the Sun and bringing up the Jupiter/Aristaeus/Panacea T-Square;
- Jewel Allison, with asteroid Juels (#20135) at 29 Scorpio opposed Venus and broadly conjunct Mars; and
- Victoria Valentino, with asteroid Victoria (#12) at 19 Cancer exactly conjoined the Sun, and asteroid Valentine (#447) at 15 Leo squared Mars.
When Cosby’s world began to unravel on November 19 with NBC dropping his new sitcom, TV Land pulling his reruns, and Temple cutting ties, a transit Saturn/Sun conjunction at 26 and 27 Scorpio trined natal Pluto, setting the stage for the total transformation in his image to come. Transit asteroid Kassandra, representing credibility issues, was at 20 Scorpio, exactly conjunct Cosby’s natal Mars—who were we to believe, “America’s Dad” or the dozens of accusers?
Transit Venus at 3 Sagittarius is coming to exact opposition to natal Venus, showing us a facet of Cosby’s relationship life in total opposition to what we’d come to expect. A broad conjunction of transit asteroid Karma, Pluto, Mars and asteroid Williams extends from 9 Capricorn to 11 Capricorn, with Mars/Williams together exactly at 18 Capricorn (Williams here represents William “Bill” Cosby, Jr), uniting themes of being called to account for prior actions (Karma), scandal and coercion/rape (Pluto), sexual acts (Mars) and Cosby personally (Williams). Transit Jupiter at 22 Leo is exactly inconjunct its natal degree, indicating an adjustment in reputation and status.
It’s impossible to prove a negative, especially 30 or 40 years out from the alleged events. With the statute of limitations having run on whatever crimes may have been committed, there can be no legal resolution to this controversy. It bears repeating again that Cosby has never been charged with a crime, let alone convicted. But perhaps the old adage, “no smoke without a fire” may apply here. If in fact Cosby is guiltless, then he’s one of the unluckiest firefighters of all time.