Arthur Ashe, an African American tennis player, was the only black man ever to win the singles title at Wimbledon, the US Open, and the Australian Open.
Arthur Ashe did not conform to the typical image of a high achieving sportsman. He had the Sun in Cancer and the Moon and Ascendant in Libra, a light, gentle combination of someone who would instinctively look for harmony and peaceful coexistence with his fellows. On the surface, he appears to be lacking the necessary assertiveness to succeed in the tough world of professional tennis.
The thing that really showed his drive and his achievement was his T Square. Ashe had an opposition between his Ascendant and Mars. Mars is physical drive and energy and the Ascendant rules the physical body so this opposition gave him a lot of strength and power. A T Square is a very powerful aspect pattern, the individual is forced to focus most of their life energy on the apex planet and its sign and house. Ashe’s Mars / Ascendant opposition focuses onto a conjunction of Jupiter and Pluto at the Midheaven. His 10th house of career would become most prominent house in his chart. Any sportsman would want an aspect between Mars and Jupiter as it expands the competitive nature but also brings considerable success. Jupiter in Leo in the 10th house as the apex of a T – Square involving Mars and the Ascendant is the true signature of a sporting champion.
When the Sun and Moon are in square aspect, the person’s experience is often that their environment does not support them and can even work against them. Far easier to have the two lights in the same sign or one in the same element as other people’s reactions ( Moon ) are in sympathy with your own inner drives and direction. As a black man in a predominantly white sport at the time, Arthur Ashe may well have suffered through unsupportive reactions of other people. The Sun / Moon square usually drives the person to greater personal efforts in order to succeed even without this support.
We can see from the chart that Ashe had great success but as a Cancer / double Libra retained a relaxed, laid back personality that was different from some of his contemporaries.
The other apex planet in the T Square however, is Pluto and whenever this is the case a level of intensity is added to the situation and a sudden explosive event that turns the person’s life upside down should be expected. Where Jupiter gave him Ashe three Grand Slams, Pluto would give him something else entirely.
One problem with having two such important planets as the Sun and Moon in close aspect to each other is that when Pluto strikes it will hit both of them and the revolutionary impact will be even stronger. For Arthur Ashe this meant an event that would utterly sweep away everything that had happened before and would cast a massive shadow over the rest of his life.
In 1979 Pluto was conjunct Ashe’s Moon and square his Sun. In 1979, Ashe suffered a heart attack, which was utterly astonishing given his high level of fitness as an athlete. Ashe underwent a quadruple bypass operation and was forced to retire from tennis.
In 1983, Ashe underwent a second round of heart surgery. Five years later a blood test revealed that Ashe was HIV positive. Ashe and his doctors believed he contracted the virus from blood transfusions he received during his second heart surgery. In February 1993, Ashe died from AIDS-related pneumonia.
After delivering the heart attack, Pluto went on to transit Ashe’s T Square from 1982 – 86 conjunct the Ascendant, opposite Mars, square the Midheaven, Jupiter and its own natal position. During this transit Pluto also moved into Scorpio.
Pluto’s is the slowest of all the planets and can stay in one sign for 20 or more years. For individuals the sign Pluto’s in is irrelevant, everyone in the same generation would share it, but for mankind as a whole its movement by sign makes interesting reading. Pluto, because of its association with revolution and hidden underground issues that make a sudden dramatic impact on the surface, is often seen as the global enemy and it’s sign placing can indicate where society sees its adversaries. From 1983 to 1995 with Pluto in Scorpio the enemy was the AIDS epidemic.
Pluto changed sign just at the moment that Arthur Ashe contracted HIV from a blood transfusion making him one of the first victims of Pluto in Scorpio.
Ashe’s response to this situation was extraordinarily dignified. He went public with his illness, and began to work to raise awareness about AIDS and advocated teaching sex education and safe sex. He also fielded questions about his own diagnosis and attempted to clear up the misconception that only homosexuals or IV drug users were at risk of contracting AIDS. He also founded the Arthur Ashe Foundation for the Defeat of AIDS.
For most people, Arthur Ashe’s story simply reinforced their world view that life is not fair. Pluto certainly isn’t fair particularly if you have it at the apex of a T Square.