Zip Dobyns
Maritha Pottenger
Mutable Dilemma
Asteroid World
Astrology Classroom
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by Zip Dobyns

The media has been having a field day with the news that a trusted member of the FBI's counter-intelligence unit may have been spying for Russia for 15 years. The San Diego Union Tribune reported on February 22, 2001 that Robert Philip Hanssen was born on April 18, 1944 in Chicago, IL. I have no birth time for him, but am working with a speculative time of about 5 PM CWT. Even without a birth time, we can know the degrees of the planets and asteroids, but the chart houses and angles will be tentative, and we will not have a definite degree for the Moon. Hanssen does not fit the profile of a typical spy who is motivated by money or ideology or revenge, and the FBI is struggling to understand Hanssen's motivations. Astrology can offer some insight, even without a definite time of birth.

Hanssen grew up in Chicago, the only child of a policeman who was a member of the Chicago police force's Red Squad, which tried to track down subversives in the 1950s and '60s. He attended college with several changes of major subject from chemistry to dentistry to business administration specializing in accounting, and he also studied Russian. He worked in several jobs before joining the FBI in January 1976. He also became an ardent convert to Catholicism in the middle 1970s. He was reportedly a computer whiz whose skill enabled him to hack into classified databases to steal secrets from the US intelligence community. His first contact with the Russians was on October 4, 1985, at which time he sent a letter to a Russian KBG officer in Washington D.C. offering to provide information. The Russians never discovered his identity until the FBI announced his arrest in February 2001, but for over 15 years he funneled some 26 computer disks and 6,000 pages of documents to their agents, and was paid in money and diamonds. To protect himself, he stayed in control, never meeting the Russian agents and dictating when and where his material and his payments would be hidden for later retrieval.

Hanssen continued to send material to the Russians from 1985 to December 1991 when he stopped abruptly until the fall of 1999. In 1992, the FBI and CIA formed a joint team to try to locate the "moles," or double agents, who they were sure were giving their secrets to the Russians. They arrested CIA agents, Ames in 1994 and Nicholson in 1996, and FBI agent Pitts soon after. Hanssen looked through computer files, decided he was not under suspicion, and resumed contact with the Russians in October 1999. He was welcomed back joyfully. But the information community was still looking for a mole in the FBI, canvassing every former Russian agent who might have information. In the fall of 2000, the FBI acquired what seemed to be the KGB file on Hanssen, minus his identity, which the Russians did not know, but with his fingerprints on some of the material. He was kept under surveillance for several months, and finally arrested in Vienna, VA shortly after 8 PM on February 18, 2001, when he was observed leaving a package of information for later retrieval by the Russians.

The March 5, 2001 issues of thee weekly news magazines, Newsweek,Time, andU.S. News and World Report, have extensive coverage of Hanssen's life and possible motivations. I will suggest some astrological correlates to their psychological evaluations, and perhaps probe a little deeper. Acquaintances and work colleagues described Hanssen as a brooding man, obsessed with purity, who always wore black, was a devout Catholic, attending mass daily with his wife. He did not drink or attend social activities with his FBI associates, calling them immoral. In fact, his colleagues called him the mortician and Dr. Death. His three sons and three daughters attended Catholic schools, and he vocally attacked the godless Communists. The usual warning signs of a spy, including excessive financial extravagance, drinking, and womanizing were totally missing in his life

Lacking the "normal" motivations for spying, the experts are suggesting that Hanssen was looking for excitement, for a challenge in an otherwise very sober life in a boring job. He got home every night at 5:30 PM, his kids worked on their homework, his sociable wife kept a neat and tidy home, and she had dinner on the table a few minutes after he got home. A section chief in the FBI's intelligence division who worked across the hall from Hanssen thinks he was a quietly brilliant man whose career never lived up to his own expectations. It was mostly dull paper shuffling, though now done with computers. Hanssen was described as fascinated by secrecy and a seeker of black-and-white certainty and higher truth. At least part of his motivation may have been a hunger for excitement and an ego urge to see if he could "get away with it." Apparently, his Russian "handlers" were successful in feeding his ego and he felt a strange loyalty to them.

Turning to Hanssen's horoscope, I will discuss the chart using my speculative birth time, so readers will need to remember that house positions and aspects to the chart angles and the Moon are questionable. Hanssen's description as a drab, morally rigid, and ultra-conventional person living a routine life would fit a stereotypical version of Virgo rising. A late Virgo Ascendant conjunct Neptune in early Libra is appropriate for his concern with purity, religion, morals, and secrecy. His tendency to be controlling fits his 10th house Mars, while Mars conjunct Ceres in Cancer describes his devotion to his family. Planets in the 9th house and Chiron in Virgo in the 12th house would reinforce religious involvement, while the Gemini-Virgo emphasis supports his intelligence. A Pisces Moon in the Virgo house repeats the six-twelve emphasis on purity and devotion to a cause. Mercury and Pallas in Taurus in the Scorpio house are appropriate for financial concern and success. His FBI salary was $110,000 a year, and he had accumulated cash, jewelry, precious metals and deeds for property that were found by the FBI after his arrest. An 8th house Sun would increase his potential for the accumulation of resources, connecting it to his self-esteem.

But what are the clues to his need for excitement, to his willingness to challenge the establishment that were apparently successfully hidden from everyone up to the time he was unmasked? We have two planets and the north lunar node in Leo added to the Sun, Venus, and Juno in Aries, and (if this birth time is accurate), three factors in the house of Sagittarius. Earth and water want security, for the self and/or for others. Fire is the element that shows that one is willing to take risks rather than be bored. The relatively strong fire in Hanssen's chart seems to have been almost totally repressed in his life until it emerged in his espionage, still hidden from all except his Russian fellow spies. The Aries in the 7th and 8th houses, the elevated Mars, and the Leo are typical of a highly competitive nature. Aries in the houses of partnership can signal the danger of competing against one's own team instead of against the proper target, the opposing team. Hanssen started out competing against the Russians, following in the footsteps of his father, and spending his life in that groove would seem to have been a reasonable way to integrate his strong security needs with his need to test his skill and power against an opponent. What inner hunger pushed him beyond that seemingly successful compromise between inherently conflicting life desires?

Enter one of the most intense astrological combinations one can have -- Vesta conjunct Saturn. I have written repeatedly of this conjunction as a key to a passionate commitment to one's immediate task/goal. It can express as a tunnel vision that is so focused, nothing else in life seems important. The need to accomplish something worth doing and to do it well is a driving force that can produce amazing skill and success in the chosen task, but can also alienate almost everything and everyone else in the individual's life. If Saturn and Vesta are in the 9th house as I suspect, the dedication/devotion to one's job can become almost fanatical. The description of Hanssen as searching for higher truth, for a black-and-white world with absolute answers, resonates with the fire in his nature, and also with the emphasis in fixed signs and houses. He wrote to the Russians that he was "insanely loyal." The Leo potential for love and loyalty, when enlarged to the proportions of a religion, does fit Hanssen's Jupiter in Leo. Yet this tendency toward total commitment is in conflict with the Gemini, with Uranus and 11th house activity, which, with Hanssen's south lunar node in Aquarius, reinforce his lesson. He needed to learn tolerance, to handle a broader perspective, to realize that the world was not black and white.

Why did he shift his loyalty from God and his FBI career to the Russians? He wrote the Russians that he decided to be a spy at age 14. He had read Philby's book about his life as a British spy for Russia, though it was not published until Hanssen was 24 years old. But that is certainly not an adequate explanation for what Hanssen did. I agree with the analyses of the experts. He was driven by his need for more challenge, more excitement, more admiration, and a greater sense of accomplishment than he was receiving in his job. After 9 years in the FBI, he probably realized he was not going anywhere in his career. But many people experience those feelings without such an extreme reaction. It is the hunger for the Absolute that can be insatiable. When we are identified with God with a rising Neptune, no matter what we have accomplished, it should have been more, sooner, bigger, better, etc. The 9th house Vesta-Saturn may have been felt as just such an insatiable hunger in a seemingly dead-end job, but it is highly relevant that he experienced little if any respect or approval from his colleagues. Could he show them up? I suspect a deep, truly subconscious anguish. I think that he was pulled between his inner arrogance based on genuine intellectual brilliance and his super-religious identification with God, and, on the other hand, a fear of criticism and rejection. So he avoided rejection by others by doing it first. He was described as almost totally socially inept, a loner in college, with his colleagues, and even his neighbors. Is it possible that he could only let himself risk feeling emotional closeness with men he never met, his fellow spies on the other team? Hanssen used several aliases, but his Russian handlers were limited to addressing him as "Dear Friend." Were these enemies of the US who bought his information truly experienced as his only friends, given an insane loyalty? Humans and life are incredibly complex.

So far, we have managed to discuss Hanssen's chart without mentioning any asteroids beyond the first four to be discovered plus Chiron. Those who are uninterested in additional asteroids can stop reading here, but there are some very appropriate ones in Hanssen's chart. Starting with several of his personal name asteroids, N Philippa (for his middle name) was in 1 Scorpio conjunct Atropos, a death goddess, and square the lunar nodes and N America in 1 Aquarius. P Philippa was in 24 Libra, square N Karma in 24 Capricorn and P Lewis in 24 Cancer (for the FBI director, Louis Freeh) when he was caught. N Philippina, (the other Philip asteroid), was retrograding conjunct Hanssen's Neptune, and it had turned direct and come back to Neptune when he was caught. It repeats his identification with ideals and secrecy. We also have two asteroids for Hanssen's first name, Roberts and Roberta. N Roberta was in 9 Gemini, so P Uranus has held a conjunction with it for most of Hanssen's life. That would seem to be one of the clues to his willingness to take risks, to rebel against the establishment. P Roberta in 0 Cancer had been progressing over his P Saturn and his speculative MC for some years while holding a quincunx to P south lunar node. N Roberts in 15 Aquarius was conjunct Siva, square N Mercury, and P Saturn had moved into a trioctile to it. N Hansen in 26 Leo was octile N Mars and P Moskva (Moscow) had reached a square to it. P Hansen in 1 Virgo was octile P Vesta.

As previously indicated, N America was close to the south lunar node, so the latter held a very long progressed conjunction to it, describing Hanssen's and our country's mutual lesson. P Nemesis, the god who punished you if you defied Themis, the divine law, had retrograded to conjunct America and the south node. P America, P Psyche, and P Hybris (hubris) were in 13 to 14 Aquarius, forming trioctiles to P Saturn and the speculative angles: MC, Ascendant, East Point, and Antivertex. N Washingtonia, where Hanssen worked and spied, was in 26 Sagittarius on the Galactic Center, which is theoretically a key to power and fame. His N Russia in 22 Cancer opposed N Karma in 23 Capricorn and they squared his P Philippa. P Russia in 14 Leo opposed N Roberts and P Hybris. The P lunar nodes held progressed squares for years to his N Moskva in 0 Taurus. N Libitina, a death goddess, was in 1 Taurus sharing the squares to America and the nodes, and P Rubicon (the point at which there is no turning back) had reached 0 Taurus to join the grand cross in 0 to 1 degrees of the fixed signs. A T-square in 13 to 14 degrees of the fixed signs included P Mars in 13 Leo opposite P America and P Psyche, with P Bacchus, associated with fanatical religion, square all of them from 13 Taurus. The birth time I chose puts Hanssen's P Ascendant in 13 Scorpio, filling in the fourth corner to complete a second fixed cross. This birth time also puts P Saturn on the MC where it is square the Ascendant. In this aspect network, the cross in the middle degrees of the fixed signs forms octiles and trioctiles to the natal angles while P Mars and P Russia conjunct the Ascendant/MC midpoint.

If Hanssen's birth time is close to accurate, his P Sun has been conjunct N Saturn for nearly two years and it had reached a conjunction with Vesta, connecting these two dynamite principles. Obviously, he never consulted an astrologer when he decided to resume his spying for Russia in early October 1999 after being out of touch for several years. Part of that time, he was assigned to work at the State Department. His P Moon moved out of Pisces into Aries in the fall of 2000 if my speculative birth time is close to accurate, and it was about that time that his KGB file reached the FBI and blew his cover.

The Attorney General could ask for the death penalty for Hanssen, but members of the FBI want to keep him alive to try to get as much information as they can about what he has told the Russians and what they told him. The latest news in the media suggests that he informed the Russians of a secret tunnel built under the Russian Embassy in Washington D.C. to eavesdrop on their activities. Spying is always a tit for tat game. When we built a new embassy in Moscow, the Russians bugged it so thoroughly while it was being constructed that it was considered unusable. Hanssen currently has his P Sun on both Vesta and Saturn. A conjunction with either can mark a time of major success in one's career, or a crash into failure and/or illness, depending on how we have been handling the rules of the game in this physical world. Hanssen's next years are not likely to be pleasant, and he will do a lot of soul-searching.

Zip Dobyns

Copyright 2001 Los Angeles Community Church of Religious Science, Inc.

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