American political junkies have become familiar with Tim Russert over the past 15 years or so since he took over the Sunday talk show “Meet the Press.” Russert had established himself as one of the most respected newsmen in the business ( a real feat under the influence of Pluto in Sagittarius which has eroded the field of journalism beyond recognition). Russert died today of a massive heart attack while filming a voiceover in the Washington Bureau of NBC News.  He was 58.

Astrologically, Russert had the Sun in Taurus, known for perseverance and endurance, and his tenacity as a reporter was widely acclaimed. He had a dogged persistence that inspired him to keep asking questions in an interview until he had his answer. His Sun was trined by Saturn, giving him the discipline to work hard and enhancing his focus on success. But it was also squared by Pluto, suggesting a challenging early life and a difficult upbringing.

This was not the only challenging aspect in Russert’s chart – he also had Mars (aggressive instinct and personal boundaries) squared by Chiron, indicating an early repression of his ability to assert himself. Nothing in his chart suggests that he would eventually be a journalistic superstar – instead he was clearly a hard worker (Mars in Virgo, Saturn trine Sun) that cared deeply about telling a story that was true and powerful (Mercury in Taurus is practical and seeks only the truth).

There is virtually no biographical information available for Russert, but since the heart is often symbolized in the chart by the Sun, we can see that Russert’s heart was stressed by the square from Pluto. This is a challenging aspect for anyone since the individual ego (Sun) is blocked and sometimes crushed by Pluto. It’s clear from Russert’s hero worship of his father as evidenced in his book “Big Russ and Me” that Russert saw his father as being larger than life.

At the time of Russert’s death, transiting Mars had been crossing over Pluto in Russert’s chart, aggravating the Pluto/Sun square. But Russert’s health problems may have accelerated back in May, June and July of 2007 when transiting Chiron (the Wounded Healer) made a square to the Pluto/Sun combination in Russert’s chart, bringing up old psychological issues and putting pressure on his heart. That cycle continued in late January and early February of this year.

At the same time transiting Uranus had been making a square (challenging aspect) to Chiron in Russert’s chart. Chiron’s healing process is not always an easy one; it often brings up old issues that we thought were long behind us. If we aren’t successful in working through them, we sometimes face health problems. The combination of Uranus and Chiron can be an incredibly exhilarating period of illumination, but it can also be difficult for a nature that is more fixed and earthy like Russert’s.

He will be missed by all political junkies.

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