Tiger Woods' fall from grace

The bigger they are, the harder they fall.  Tiger Woods, at once the best golfer and richest athlete of all time, has seen his career and reputation dissolve over a period of just three short weeks as a parade of young women (thirteen at last count) have come forward with sordid tales of Tiger's sexual dalliances.  The details of Tiger Woods amorous escapades have revealed a whole other side to the man and have laid waste to his carefully cultivated All-American family man image.  What started as a strange late night car accident near his home in Orlando, Florida on November 27 has mushroomed into a career and image killer of massive proportions.  Not only has Tiger Woods gone on indefinite leave from the golf tour, but his many corporate sponsors are now abandoning him as his clean-cut image takes a beating with each new sexual revelation.  For an athlete who stands to earn $100 million in advertising endorsements in 2009, this affair is a considerable blow.  And now there are reports that he has moved out of his house in Orlando and his wife Elin Nordegren is planning to divorce him.  

For the astrologer, there are several pressing questions.  First, can we see what planetary combinations in his birth chart pushed Woods into these sexual exploits?  And why did he feel the need to keep up a false front of domestic bliss while leading a completely different life on the road?   Second, what specific planetary influences were prominent in late November and December that produced this disastrous turn of events for him?  Thirdly, what does his future hold?  Can he rehabilitate his image and play golf again?

Tiger Woods
December 30, 1975 10.50 pm Long Beach, CA

Woods' natal chart shows athletic talent through the first lord Mercury placed in the 5th house of games and sports.  The first lord represents the body or person as a whole and its placement in the benefic 5th house gives success through entertainment.  Mercury (3 Capricorn) is also very close to the equal cusp of the 5th house (0 Capricorn) and hence derives greater strength and serves to ratchet up the positive effects of this placement.  At the same time, there is a somewhat puzzling aspect from Saturn to Mercury.  As a malefic planet, Saturn aspects can cause some difficulties although like all planets, Saturn has a positive side.  Here Saturn confers a seriousness and deliberative quality to Woods in his approach to life, and we can certainly see that Woods approaches his golf game with a serious intensity as taught to him by his father.  Saturn is well placed in the 11th house of gains here so its aspect to the 1st lord Mercury enhances achievement levels.  Saturn is further strengthened by its rulership of the 5th house.  Hence, we see a very helpful yoga between the 5th lord Saturn and 1st lord Mercury placed in the 5th house.  Woods' wealth is perhaps less obvious here, although we can still spot a useful dhana wealth-producing yoga.  Benefic Jupiter (22 Pisces) aspects the lords of both money houses, the 2nd (Venus) and 11th (Moon) in Scorpio.  Moreover, both of the money house lords Moon and Venus are conjunct in Scorpio and are aspected by their dispositor Mars.  This creates a positive feedback loop for those houses and there promise is greatly enhanced. 

On the question of his marriage, Woods' 7th house of marriage is apparently quite strong.  7th lord Jupiter is strong in its own sign of Pisces and placed in its own house. This can represent a successful and well-bred partner and is often found in charts of people who desire to be married.  Jupiter is a planet of conventionality and normal success and its placement in the 7th often means that the person respects marriage as an institution and benefits from being in a stable relationship.  This may have been one source of Tiger Woods' desire to project a public face upright propriety, especially in terms of his marriage.  But the astrological assessment of love and marriage extends beyond the 7th house and needs to include Venus and Mars, the planets of love and sexuality.   We can see that Venus is placed in Scorpio, a placement that, if afflicted, is often associated with sexual affairs, passionate arguments and, in some cases, associations with permissive or sensuous women.  We can see that some of these more negative dimensions of Venus in Scorpio will manifest because it is conjunct Neptune, the planet of deception and illusion, and opposite Mars, the planet of sexuality.  With Venus in Scorpio and Mars in Taurus, the sexual planets exchange signs and that creates a highly sexual nature.  Moon in Scorpio intensifies emotions and when it is aspected by Mars as it is here, it can heighten aggressiveness and create havoc in relationships.  The Neptune influence creates illusion in love affairs, either in a self-deluded sense, or in terms of deceiving others.  In Woods' case, it's not hard to see that this may have led Woods' leading a double life. Jupiter in the 7th house is his upright family man side whereas the Venus-Neptune-Moon-Mars complex describes is passionate and indulgent sexual side that corresponded with his many mistresses.

So the inevitable question: why is this all this happening to Tiger Woods now? How could someone who is at the very apex of his life in terms of worldly success have it all come apart so suddenly?   Woods' chart reveals multiple simultaneous affliction that one would expect from this sort of life-changing situation.  A good starting point is that his ascendant is the first degree of sidereal Virgo.  This is potentially significant because there are no less than four slow moving planets forming aspects to his ascendant.   And since we are using equal house cusps, all those aspects are very close to their respective house cusps.  On December 1, just three days after the accident and the beginning of this chain of events, Uranus (28 Aquarius) stationed just two degrees from Woods' 7th house cusp of marriage.  Uranus symbolizes sudden or rapid change and it is often implicated in marital break-ups when it is configured with the 7th house cusp or its lord.  Here we should note that Uranus is doing double duty because not only is it conjunct the 7th house, but it also squares Woods' Moon (28 Scorpio) in the 4th.  Since the Moon represents women in general and the home, it comes as no surprise that Woods has left his family home in Orlando as his wife Erin appears to be preparing divorce proceedings.

The 7th house representing marriage is further stressed at the moment because the lord of the 7th house, Jupiter, is currently conjunct the 6th house cusp around 29 Capricorn. The 6th house is considered a malefic dussthana house in Vedic astrology and is associated with conflict and obstacles. Whenever planets conjoin this sensitive cuspal point in the 6th house, it weakens the significations of the house they represent.  The fact that there is a simultaneous activation of the 7th cusp by Uranus and the 7th lord Jupiter to the 6th cusp provides the necessary affliction one would expect in such a serious marital situation. 

But if that weren't enough, there's actualy a third affliction -- namely transiting Saturn (9 Virgo) aspects Woods' natal Venus (5 Scorpio).  In Vedic astrology, Saturn's sextile or third house aspect is considered to be a full strength aspect that is just as potentially damaging (or beneficial depending on its condition) as the opposition or forward square aspect.  While it's not exact by degree, it's still only 4 or 5 degrees off and hence quite strong.  Natally, Saturn rules the dussthana 6th house of conflict, troubles, and debt so Saturn has an extra capacity to do harm when it forms tight transits to key natal planets.  The other important factor here is that transiting Saturn is moving quite slowly now ahead of its retrograde station in January.   As a general rule, the slower the planet, the more powerful it becomes.  So Saturn can do more damage here than it otherwise would because it will cast its aspect to Venus for a much longer period of time.  Saturn moved into transit range (for sake of argument, about 5 degrees) of Venus in September and it will continue to aspect Venus until July 2010.  That is a very long time to have Saturn aspecting any planet and it bodes very poorly for Woods' marriage and happiness generally.  We can also implicate Saturn in Woods' significant loss of revenue as different advertising sponsorships have ended.  With sidereal Virgo rising, Libra rules the 2nd house of wealth.  Venus rules Libra and thus any affliction to Venus may produce difficulties with wealth and assets.  The extended Saturn aspect to Venus therefore probably means that Woods will continue to have difficulties on the business front as more sponsors will want to distance themselves from him.

We may also note the role of Neptune here.  As we noted, Neptune plays a key role in Woods natal chart as it is conjunct the Moon and opposite Mars.    This "Marsified" Neptune may have played a role in Woods' deceptive sexual lifestyle.  But Neptune carries this natal energy with it through its transits and we see that Neptune is currently in a vulnerable place in his chart -- conjunct the 6th house cusp.  Neptune could represent the role of deception here as some of the women Woods was involved with have gone public against his wishes.  Also the 6th house symbolizes both health and legal matters so Woods' may be at the wrong end of legal matters through this current situation.  Divorce is definitely on the way but we could see other legal claims made against him, perhaps by his mistresses or even former sponsors.

We should also note the auxiliary role of transiting Mars and Rahu.  Transiting Mars (25 Cancer) is currently approaching its retrograde station on December 20 where it will form a close square aspect to his natal Rahu (27 Libra).  This is a difficult combination of energies and often describes volatile situations and frustrated or irritated emotional states since the assertiveness of Mars is often transformed into a negative outcome when it mixes with the disruptive or unexpected nature of Rahu (North Lunar Node).  Similarly, transiting Rahu (27 Sagittarius) is currently aspecting Woods' natal Ketu (27 Aries).  These node-to-node aspects often shake up the status quo although they are not always negative.  Given all the other difficult transits in play, however, this Rahu/Ketu influence only serves to increase the disruptive effects of the current period.

Finally, we should say a word of dasha periods.  Woods is running Sun-Venus from April 2009 to April 2010.  Both planets are fairly well-placed as the Sun is strong in the 4th, a kendra house, with a strong dispositor Jupiter which is swakshetra.  We do note the 8th house Mars aspect here which could cause some problems, particularly since Mars rules the 8th house, the most malefic house in the horoscope.   Venus is placed in the 3rd house and rules the 2nd and 9th and also receives an aspect from Mars but overall, neither of these planets is hugely damaged.    Subperiod lord Venus is in the 12th from main dasha lord Sun, so that is an unfortunate relationship but again it is not really sufficient to account for the huge difficulties that Tiger Woods is currently facing.  However much we may want to read off dasha effects simply and directly,  I think the critical point here is how dasha lords are always conditioned by the relevant transits.  Woods' is running the Venus subperiod and we see his natal Venus afflicted by Saturn for almost a whole year.  That is a very significant merging of transits with dashas where transits can turn otherwise positive dasha lords into harbingers of stress and serious life problems.  And I would be remiss if I did not point out that Woods' great career success did come during the main Venus dasha period from 1984 to 2004.   So clearly, Venus is not a static energy in this chart; it changes its complexion according to the key transit influences.

So what's next for Tiger?  With Saturn in aspect to his Venus until the summer of 2010, the near term looks very difficult for him.   I would not expect him to attempt any major golf comeback until after this influence has dissipated.  The Sun-Venus period will yield to the Moon main dasha period in April 2010 so that may alter the dominant energies in his life somewhat.   The Moon dasha will run for the next ten years until 2020.  His Moon is debilitated in Scorpio and opposed by its dispositor Mars in the 3rd house, albeit close to a powerful position near the 4th house cusp.  This dasha period would indicate mixed results at best although Woods' earning capacity may return to some extent since Moon is 11th lord of gains.   We can see that the second half of 2010 may show some improvement since transiting Jupiter enters Pisces which will cast is favourable aspect on the first house.  With Jupiter stationing near Tiger's 7th house cusp in December 2010, he is likely to see some kind of boost in his fortunes, possibly involving a new relationship.  But it seems even the latter half of 2010 will be marked by setbacks as transiting Saturn and Rahu will activate his Sun in September and October.  The Sun represents the ego and the self, so his reputation may take another hit here.  And since Sun is the 12th lord of loss, Woods may suffer more financial troubles.  Generally speaking, it looks like it will be a long road back to respectability for him.