Jayson Blair, the New York Times journalist who was forced to resign in 2003 when it was discovered that he had plagiarized and simply made up some of his stories, is back in the news having reinvented himself as a life coach. Blair now has a position with Ashburn Psychological Services in Virginia as a certified coach, something that has caused more than a few raised eyebrows in the media.
The story of Jayson Blair embodies the soul of the Chironic journey that we call the “Wounded Healer.” This archetype is well-known in the psychological field and originated in the work of Carl Jung who is quoted as saying “Only the wounded physician heals.” It is the experience of being wounded that provides the compassion required to assist others in their own healing journey.
Blair, an African-American, was blessed with a trail of success beginning with his stint as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper in college and continuing through his meteoric rise at the New York Times. But his entire career he was dogged by questions and accusations of fabrication and reporting errors that were largely ignored until April 2003, when he was fired from the Times. Blair’s rise through the Times was largely attributed to the desire for a more diverse workplace and the Blair story led to a lively national debate on the merits of affirmative action although Blair’s career paralleled that of Stephen Glass, a white reporter with the New Republic whose demise was chronicled in the film “Shattered Glass.”
According to Jayson Blair’s birthchart (March 23, 1976, time unknown, Columbia Maryland), he has the Sun in Aries and it form a challenging square to Mars, the ruler of Aries. Mars and Aries are both fiery influences that are associated with the ancient God of War. This planetary combination denotes an individual who has a passionate drive and the courage to overcome obstacles. In addition, Blair’s Moon (emotional needs) is in Capricorn, the sign of achievement and success.
That Moon is in a challenging square to Pluto, the planet of death and transformation. This is a challenging dynamic that suggests a somewhat desperate and compulsive (Pluto) emotional need (Moon) to BE somebody, to achieve success in the world (Capricorn). Pluto also opposes his Sun, so he has a predisposition to experience difficulties with authority figures. The Sun/Pluto opposition also suggests that he is a person that will undergo continual change and transformation throughout his life as he lets go of the past and continues to grow.
Blair is incredibly creative as well: with Venus (beauty and attraction) in Pisces (creativity and imagination) in aspect to Neptune, ruler of Pisces, he has the ability to craft stories that are vividly evocative, but the fact that the Venus/Neptune aspect is a challenging square shows that it is easy for him to blur the lines between reality and fiction. Mercury (thought and communication) is also in Pisces in his chart, expanding that creative side, and Mercury makes a harmonious aspect to Saturn, planet of discipline and achievement. It is this dynamic that gives him the focus and work ethic to take his stories and turn them into a successful career.
Blair would have been better off in a career as a fiction writer, but he has a dynamic in his chart that is emotionally painful and perhaps demonstrates a tendency towards self-destructive behavior. This is a challenging square between Saturn and Chiron, the wounded healer archetype. In the birthchart Chiron shows where we are particularly sensitive emotionally to our experiences, and when Chiron is in a square formation to Saturn, the Celestial Taskmaster, there is an ongoing pressure to experience and work through those wounds.
To complicate matters for Blair, Jupiter (expansion and aggrandisement) conjoins Chiron and becomes part of this combination. Jupiter instills in us the urge to Be God, and can inspire overconfidence and arrogance, especially if this urge is used to compensate for the emotional pain and drama of the Saturn/Chiron square.
In 2003 when Blair lost his job with the Times, transiting Saturn was making a challenging square to that imaginative Mercury in his chart, forcing him to face reality, and Chiron was transiting his Capricorn Moon which likely stimulated up all of his inner doubts and emotional anxieties about success. In his memoir that came out the following year, he admitted his faults but blamed his demise on the staff at the Times. Without taking responsibility for our own actions we cannot achieve real personal evolution.
After writing his book Blair disappeared from view during his Saturn Return, during which time he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and began leading a bipolar support group in his hometown. (Source: NPR) Blair’s Saturn return, which occurs when Saturn in the sky returns to its place in the birthchart, also formed a square to Chiron in his chart. A more reactive way to deal with the pain and discomfort of this transit might have been to continue lashing out and blaming others for his problems, but instead Blair not only began working on his own issues (Saturn) but also started helping others (Chiron) – quietly, with no fanfare or publicity.
Blair’s story is an inspiring one. He was able to overcome tremendous personal obstacles and a very public flameout to have a life that is focused on helping other people to, as he says, avoid mistakes that he made in his ownlife.