People born in the United States around 1950 or before should remember something about Tom Dooley. He was an American hero. He was one of our first culturally celebrated non-Ugly Americans. His fame preceded President John F. Kennedy’s Peace Corps: in fact, he was probably a major--by example--sponsor of it. Dooley was the talented American doctor who took what he knew--medicine--to economically and medically underdeveloped countries. He did it humbly. He learned their ways. He learned their language. He learned their customs. He did not insist on all the most modern equipment before starting. He did what he could with whatever supplies he could get his hands on and provided medical assistance to many desperate people. Many of his patients adored him.
When did his cancer start? Its diagnosis, at least, was made in Laos in July, 1959. He had a small growth, excised by a visiting surgeon, on his right shoulder . Later tissue examination showed it to be a malignant melanoma, a virulent form of skin cancer that spreads through the blood and lymph systems.
Just after his diagnosis, Dooley returned temporarily to the States, and, in August, 1959, entered Memorial Hospital in New York City. There he underwent surgery on August 27. Announcements afterwards--and following two checkups in May and October of 1960--declared him cancer-free. Likely, all along he was aware of his impending death, and his checkups were to monitor the disease’s progress. (See footnote 1 below.)
Around November 25, 1960, shortly after announcing himself cancer-free, Dooley found his cancer had spread to his spine. On December 8, he started wearing a back brace to support his disintegrating vertebrae. December 27, he flew back to New York’s Memorial Hospital to die. He was in so much pain, and so uncomfortable, the stewardess assisting him begged him to tell her anything she could do to help him. When he disembarked the plane, an ambulance awaited him. He refused to take it. Instead, he insisted on walking to and from the car that took him to the hospital, where he died less than a month later, on January 18, 1961.
After his death, Dooley’s autopsy showed melanoma had spread to his heart, lungs, brain, liver, and spleen. Even his bone marrow was saturated with it.
Except for rare moments, neither the public nor the private Dooley complained. Neither did he exhibit self pity.
That was who Tom Dooley was. Where did he come from? For those who actually remember him, the first three biographies listed below, written shortly after his death, portray the Dooley we knew. He was the great American--doctor, idealist, and pragmatist--who re-discovered our spiritual roots, our noblesse oblige as citizens of the richest country on Earth. The fourth, later and scholarly, biography, published in 1997, also portrays Dooley the idealist and pragmatist. It adds, however, Dooley the man. Dooley in all his complexity, contradictions, innocence, and worldliness.
Thomas A. Dooley III was born January 17, 1927 in St. Louis, Missouri, the oldest of three brothers. He also grew up with an older half-brother, Earle. His grandfather, Thomas, Sr., was wealthy enough that when he died the education of his grandchildren was part of his will. Dooley’s mother was a Daughter of the American Revolution. Dooley grew up economically privileged, a fact he later contrived to keep out of his public image.
He was talented, extremely charming, and often a maverick. He played excellent piano and organ, showing musical precocity before age 5. He spoke several languages--Polish, and French fluently; Laotian and Viet Namese well. He liked riding horses, and enjoyed the fox and hound set, but only visited, and did not join. He was never interested in team sports, nor, in that sense, being a boy among boys. Beguiling, he was nonetheless a gregarious loner, never identifying with any group.
In 1945, after only two semesters at Notre Dame, Dooley interrupted his undergraduate education to become a medical corpsman in the Navy. He was trained as a pharmacist’s mate at Great Lakes, and served at St. Albans hospital, in Queens, NY, and the Marine Hospital in San Diego. He returned to Notre Dame in 1946, sporting full naval dress, proud of himself, and living the good life.
He entered medical school at St. Louis University before completing his undergraduate degree. In time, he received both his B.A. and his M.D. from St. Louis University School of Medicine, but it took an extra year. He had to repeat his last year there. Reasons for that were never disclosed.
Once he became a doctor, the half Irish-American, Roman Catholic Dooley was, it appeared, headed in the direction of becoming a society obstetrician--rich, spoiled, and charming.
What happened? How did his path to decadence get subverted to one of international servant?
In April, 1953, Dooley, just about to receive his medical degree, was appointed Lieutenant, junior grade, U.S. Navy. On July 14, 1954, he received orders putting him on the U.S.S. Montague to participate in “Operation Passage to Freedom.” Passage to Freedom was part of the U.S. effort to assist refugees from North Viet Nam to get to South Viet Nam. (See footnote 2 below.) For this work, Dooley was awarded the Navy’s Legion of Merit. The rescue operation was his first intimate experience with the uprooted, poor, starved, and dispossessed part of humanity. Through it, Dooley discovered he loved doctoring; specifically, that he loved doctoring the poor of Southeast Asia.
Even his navy experience, however, was not usual. In January, 1956, the Chief of Naval Personnel initiated an “appropriate investigation” into Dooley’s sexual behavior. Effective March 28, 1956, Dooley--apparently forced--resigned his naval commission.
April, 1956 was the scheduled time for publication of his first book, Deliver Us From Evil, for which he became famous. (See footnote 3 below.) Perhaps the Navy was worried about public embarrassment--the exposure of Dooley’s sexual inclinations once he became a public figure.
Outed posthumously through public discussion of his sexuality in 1989, Dooley was apparently homosexual. It was a fact he kept well hidden. People simply did not announce same sex attractions in the 1950s. Later, some speculated his cancer was the result of guilt about his homosexuality. Dooley may have been troubled by it early in life--no biographical information makes that clear. As an adult, however, he appears--from reports that have been gathered--to have had an active, uncommitted sex life. Indeed, he demonstrated a gusto for living in general--meeting people, partying, playing, and drinking--all of which belied his later, more austere, celibate image.
For a while after his resignation from the Navy, Dooley maintained his medical work in Southeast Asia through donations, with heavy contributions from the Reader’s Digest, also involved in serializing his books. But, he needed more.
In February, 1958, The International Rescue Committee unveiled a new program, MEDICO (Medical International Cooperation Organization) which sponsored Dooley’s work. He was, in fact, one of its main fund-raisers. William Lederer, co-author of “The Ugly American,” once said of Dooley, he was “a genius who could squeeze money [or supplies] out of any body.” He remained intimately associated with MEDICO for the remainder of his life.
Dooley was an international traveler. Before 1959, when he found out he had malignant melanoma, Tom Dooley had the world by the tail. He loved his work. He was superb at financing it. He was internationally known, and internationally honored. He was rich, young, and handsome. He lived well in multiple worlds. And, he was healthy.
But, he was not healthy.
Was there a way to foresee Dooley’s liability to cancer?
Yes, there was. It was in his astrology. It was there from the moment he was born. His susceptibility was. The timing for when it was discovered involved progressions (moving planets to date of event using one of several standard ways to do that). Timing varies with each chart, but its technique can be applied any time after birth.
So, when an individual is born, it is possible to say that he could be diagnosed with cancer at a later age. It is possible because specific, multiple conditions in his chart are similar to those always present in charts of people diagnosed with cancer. When his cancer actually started is another matter, far less easy--if it can be done at all--to determine. When it becomes visible can be seen. When it started is some unknown time before that.
What does susceptibility to cancer look like?
For an explanation of the astrology used on this site, go to “About This System” listed among other papers on the Home Page. For those who do not want to do that, there is this note: this system uses only conjunctions, applying and separating squares, and oppositions. Orbs with lights is 5°; without lights, about 2.5°. Birth planets (including their harmonics) rule only birth houses. Conception planets (including their harmonics) rule only conception houses.
Returning to the specifics about cancer, when some one dies of cancer, it usually shows up in one, two, or three of his twelve harmonic charts. The three are:
Of these three, the harmonic chart for the 6th house (also called “6th chart”) is the most likely indicator.
Cancer that starts, however, in his sex organs will also be evident in his 5th chart. It may also show up in an afflicted 5th house in his 7th chart of relationships. Diagnostically, these different indications are important, each one confirming or denying the other. So, for instance, if the 5th and 7th charts imply a sexual problem, but the 6th is clear of affliction, then it suggests the problem is just sexual and not cancer.
These observations are not cut and dried as much more research is needed in this area. Birth data on specific cancers has been insufficient to investigate origins. Most data simply state “died of cancer” and some times gives the date of death.
Here we can only cover Dooley’s 6th chart of general health.
When an individual dies from cancer, mars, saturn, and neptune predominate in his 6th chart. Moreover, they predominate--either by position or rulership--over two of the houses within that chart, those of the 4th (end cycle) and 6th (health) house.
Mars/neptune predominant in any chart confuses conditions in it. If in a mental chart (the 3rd chart), the mind becomes confused, and paranoid (mars) schizophrenia (neptune) is a possibility (see paper on John Forbes Nash, link on Home Page). In the money chart (the 2nd chart), money conditions become treacherous (see paper on O.J. Simpson, link on Home Page). In the chart for our potential children (the 5th chart), it can lead to spontaneous abortions. In the 6th chart (health), the body’s set of instructions for health depart from normal and viable. A little confusion is all right. A lot of confusion over long periods of time leads to disaster. At a cellular level, one of the manifestations of that confusion can be cancer.
When saturn is added to mars/neptune, potential disaster becomes evident disaster. Mars/saturn/neptune represent siege conditions in whichever chart they predominate.
Mars/neptune in the harmonic chart for the 1st house indicates allergies and sensitivities to drugs and chemicals (see paper on asthma, link on Home Page). His sensitivity is shown by mars/neptune: its severity (death in this example, but it could be just a severe reaction) is shown by the added saturn.
Mars/neptune predominant in relationships, shown in the 7th chart which shows our identity with others, means the individual’s interactions with others are bewildering, unpredictable, and frightening, producing panic and mistrust. Naturalness is impossible because trust, through experience, has been betrayed too often. Good examples of this are shown in papers about people with forefront mars in Pisces (mars in neptune's sign), such as Eric Harris, Ted Kaczynski, and Charles Joseph Whitman (links on Home Page).
The 6th chart describes many things about our general health. When it contains forefront mars/neptune, it suggests cellular or system “schizophrenia.” When saturn is added, the system involved comes under siege. If the individual starts life with all these forefront in his 6th chart, he is astrologically more likely to demonstrate cancer--or some form of cellular or system pathology--early in life.
Then, if any two of the planets mars, saturn, and neptune are prominent in the chart for the 6th house of health, and strongly influencing Angles and 6th houses within the chart, then two-thirds of the conditions exist which could contribute to the planetary conditions for the development of cancer. When the 3rd planet enters the picture, cancer can become evident.
What is meant by the terms prominent, forefront, and strongly influencing--all meaning the same thing--for this 6th house chart?
The younger a person is diagnosed or dies from cancer, the clearer the astrological indications. That is why his cancer shows up early--his “mis-instructions” are clear. It is harder for disease to kill a young, otherwise healthy individual than an older, time-worn one. In order for a young person to die from cancer, his astrology must be saturated with bad instructions which undermine the healthy thrust of his youth. So, in examining cancer, as well as diseases like heart attacks, astrological requirements are clearest in those who die young. We look at their charts for the typical disease. Their charts set the standard for what to look for in charts of older individuals where the mis-instructions need not be as potent.
Dr. Tom Dooley -- 6th House Harmonic Chart
Note the criss-crossing throughout all sets below, showing mars, saturn, and neptune influence over and over again to Angles, 4th and 6th houses. So much influence amounts to preponderance.
Progressions are expressed in italics. All other positions are original, that is, there at birth.
If a planet is in a house, it, and it alone, is influencing it. If, however, it rules the house, the whole set it is in influences that house.
|(a)||C Asc||18 Cancer 31|
|b venus||16 Capricorn 09||ruler of B Asc|
|c mars||16 Capricorn 50||ruler of C MC; in c 6th house; co-ruler of c 4th house|
|c6 neptune||16 Aries 51|
|b6 North Node||17 Aries 52|
|b mars||19 Aries 55||ruler of b 6th house|
All the Aries planets are in c 6th house, ruling b 6th house, already involving (in aspect to) an Angle, and ruling two others. The implication from birth for his health is he has a good chance of incurring a "mars/neptune" health disorder...cancer, for instance.
Note b6 NN. As a light--which extends orb of influence--it draws the other planets into relationship to his Ascendant. Conception mars’ opposition to conception Ascendant is almost two degrees wide, rendering it weak. B6 NN strengthened it.
B6 NN is also the “planet” which turns this Angle/mars/mars of Dooley into a definite 6th chart--health--matter. Without it, his Angle/mars/mars was uncommitted to an area of influence. That is, it existed in all charts, and had no special emphasis in any of them.
|(b)||b saturn||11 Scorpio 07||in c 4th house|
|b6 mars||9 Aquarius 18||ruler of b 6th house; in c 4th house|
|c6 South Node||12 Aquarius 04|
|c6 saturn||12 Taurus 29||co-ruler of c 6th house (19 of 30°)|
Mars here is weak. Five degrees separation from the lights is the largest orb we allow. For an event, i.e., progressions, it is only one degree. The closer the aspect, the more potent. This shows various light, mars, and saturn influences to both 4th and 6th houses, with mars weak.
Dooley’s node plus two saturns in (b) is important. In progressing his Angles, they hit first one node/saturn (11 Scorpio 07), then the other node/saturn (12 Taurus 29), then his progressed birth saturn (at 13 Scorpio 24 at the time of his death). This timing idiosyncrasy spreads his saturn influence, which becomes forefront and active, over approximately three years. (See footnote 4 below.) Three years is a long time to be under the continuous influence of progressed Angle/saturn.
If Dooley happens to have progressing mars hitting these saturns at the same time, then he is in trouble. And that is exactly what happened.
|(c)||pC MC||11 Taurus 28|
|b saturn||11 Scorpio 07||in b 4th|
|pc mars||10 Aquarius 58||ruler of C MC; co-ruler of c 4th (15 of 36°); in b 4th house|
|(d)||pb6 neptune||14 Taurus 19|
|pC Asc||14 Leo 42|
Sets (c) and (d) were in effect on August 27, 1959 when Dooley was first operated on for cancer. They show new influences of mars, saturn, and neptune to Angles, also re-emphasizing 4th and 6th house impacts. Added to his original condition, they represent a siege on his health.
|(e)||pC MC||12 Taurus 49|
|c6 saturn||12 Taurus 29||co-ruler of c 6th house (19 of 30°)|
|c6 South Node||12 Aquarius 04|
|pc mars||11 Aquarius 59||ruler of C MC; co-ruler of c 4th (15 of 36°); in b 4th house|
|(f)||pB Asc||20 Scorpio 52|
|b6 neptune||20 Taurus 17|
These two sets--(e) and (f)--were in effect when he died, on January 18, 1961. Note that his progressing C MC has kept apace of his progressing c mars. Usually, one gets some surcease from saturn when a progressing Angle is passing from one saturn to its progressed position. Usually, because they are often more than a degree apart. Here, they were too close to each other to afford him any relief. Progressing Angle to progressing mars is different. A progressing Angle will often move along apace of progressing mars over a period of several years, sometimes even more than that. When it occurs at the same time as Angle/saturn, it spells extreme difficulty. Dooley’s South Node, as an additional light, in aspect with both (c) and (d), then (e) and (f), create powerful siege conditions in his 6th house chart. They exist without relief from the time before his first surgery until after his death.
In addition to (e) and (f), Dooley has another saturn progressed to an Angle. c6 saturn in (e) has progressed backwards (retrograde) to oppose (180 degrees) his birth Ascendant. It moves so slowly, it was also in effect when he had his surgery in August, 1959. In fact, it was in effect longer--several years--before that.
Mars represents action/energy. In good proportion, it sponsors the energy of the building part of creation, and the tearing down part of destruction. When mars is excessive, too much energy is going into the system. Where that energy goes and what it does depends on the other planets mars is working with as well as houses mars rules.
Saturn represents limitation, especially the form part of limitation. In good proportion, it sponsors the structure of things, from the small to the large, from cell nuclei to cell walls to long bones. When excessive, saturn sponsors too much form, resulting in inflexibility, brittleness, excessive thickness, and so on. When excessive, it also uses up a non-optimum amount of energy in creating form at the expense of function (vitality).
Neptune represents porosity. In good proportion, its influence brings about things like cell permeability, flexibility, elasticity. As an outer planet, its main function appears to be idealization of the form. When excessive, it returns the physical to the ideal, that is, pre-form.
Pairs might be:
Mars/saturn - cellular retardation: action against rigidity, a non-flexible system. Therefore, cell breakdown and low function occur. A non-malignant tumor would be an example.
Saturn/neptune - cellular neurasthenia: rigidity against flexibility, resulting in weakness. Probably connected to chronic conditions where systems slowly become dysfunctional. Saturn and neptune are antithetical in one way. Saturn creates form (walls, barriers, coverings, etc.); neptune, in excess, dissolves it. Conditions which involve the form being dissolved--like Multiple Sclerosis--are representative.
Mars/neptune - cellular schizophrenia: too much action plus too much flexibility. Therefore, a virulent form of mis-production. Too much energy is involved in the elasticity, and instructions break, tear, fall apart, warp, dissolve, and otherwise become chaotic. Probably connected to acute conditions.
Ironically, chemicals, such as are used in chemotherapy--that is, poisons for the body--are also represented by mars and neptune.
I have used the idiom of mental disturbances to help define cellular ones. In fact, with astrology research on cancer is more complicated than research on, for instance, schizophrenia. Cancer comes in many varieties. It also starts in many different parts of the body. While schizophrenia has a variety of different manifestations, they all manifest in one place, the thinking mechanism. Cancer can start anywhere, and often enough, end up anywhere. It can show up in more charts than does schizophrenia.
How does medicine explain the onset and--if the individual lives through it--cessation of cancer? Why does a cure work? If cancer happened once, why doesn't it keep happening?
On the other hand, what, if any, illness do charts like Dooley's manifest when the individual lives in a culture that is either free from cancer (do any still exist? they used to) or in which there is a low incidence?
This paper answers some of those otherwise unanswerable questions. And it raises some more.
Dooley’s sequence of progressed Angles to these Scorpio saturns (up to age eighteen) are
He experienced each on average 3-6 months (conservatively). Even though youth can bear the stress produced by saturn better than can age, this particular stress was emotional, that of not belonging. It would be hard on the development of a youth.
This sequence of frequent Angle/saturn early in life explain why Dooley was unable to belong even though he was an almost frantic socializer. His 1997 biography relates he was close to his mother, but not his father. His 1st/4th house saturns indicate emotional alienation (saturn in Scorpio) from his father (4th house). Dooley failed early in life (1st house) to have meaningful emotional exchanges with the central male figure of his life. His social hyperactivity, then, was an index of the feeling of emotional barrenness he was trying to overcome.
So, it is likely the reason he went to such extremes to show himself courageous at the end of his life was his desire to demonstrate to his father (then deceased, but not emotionally for Dooley) that he was a "real man" in spite of his sexual orientation.
Is there, then, a connection between the severe emotional pain (implied in the 1997 biography) surrounding his relationship with his father and Dooley's cancer? Astrologically, the answer is an unequivocal yes. For Tom Dooley the answer is yes. After all, it is right there in print: his 1st/4th house saturns in Scorpio become entangled in conditions for his disease. It says there is some connection even if I am not glib in stating it. For others, the answer is yes or no, depending on where saturn's emphasis falls. Only about 1/12 of the population would have an 8th house/Scorpio saturn emphasis. Far fewer would have it influencing 6th and 4th houses. Even though we all die, we do not all die bearing the weight of Dooley’s sense of emotional failure.
Second Post Script, October, 2003
Lois Rodden, the astrologer who served as a major focal point for the collection, standardization, and publication of most of the data I, for one, have used in my research, died from her fourth or fifth bout with cancer at her home in California on June 5, 2003. From what I read, once the inevitable was clear to her, having accomplished a great deal and lived fully, Mrs. Rodden was ready to go. I never met her in person.
Shown below are the major sets in her 6th chart for her death from cancer. All progressions are for date of death.
|(a)||c moon||18 Aquarius 28||ruler of C MC in b 6th house|
|b6 neptune||21 Taurus 35||co-ruler of b 1st house (18 of 28°)|
|c6 neptune||22 Taurus 14R||ruler of c 6th house|
|c mars||19 Leo 07|
|b saturn||23 Scorpio 14R||ruler of B Asc in c 4th house|
Set (a) shows her orignal 6th chart fault with lighted mars/saturn/neptune in one set with Angular and 4th influence. It would not have amounted to much had saturn not been retrograde:
|(b)||progressed b saturn||18 Scorpio 52R||ruler of B Asc in c 4th house|
|progressed b6 North Node||17 Leo 01|
Adding sets (a) and (b) together, Mrs. Rodden lost her last fight with cancer as progressing saturn moved ever closer to her c moon. which has Angular and 6th house influence. The progressing node is actually passing out of the set. One year earlier, on June 5, 2002, it was at 18 Leo 07. Two years prior to her death, on June 5, 2001, it was at 19 Leo 26.
One significant transits for her date of death was transiting sun at 19 Taurus 47, having just crossed over (a) + (b).
I had seen the non-harmonic part of set (a)--moon/mars/saturn with 4th influence--in Rodden’s 7th chart, the one I usually do first. I did not look at her 6th chart until after her death. I understand she (once again) fought the good fight, and had chemotherapy and radiation, followed by temporary remission.
Sets (a) + (b) above are enough to qualify for the major set for death for the 6th chart, but Mrs. Rodden had additional 6th chart affliction:
|(c)||progressed b6 moon||10 Aquarius 07|
|progressed c6 mars||9 Scorpio 27|
|progressed c6 saturn||9 Leo 42||ruler of c 4th house|
Set (c) gives her additional lighted mars and saturn influence to a 4th house, and is probably one of the timers. Her 40° return for this period had its Ascendant at 9 Taurus 44.
She had progressed B Asc at 0 Gemini 29 and progressed c6 mars at 0 Gemini 28, both in b 4th house. Also in the same set was progressed c jupiter at 0 Pisces 39R. Her progressed B MC was aspecting c sun/b venus, with venus ruling b 4th. These good aspects to her chart at the time of her death are indicative of the loving presence of her family as well as the honor her death occasioned.
Her progressed C Asc was at 25 Scorpio 00 conjunct progressed c South Node at 25 Scorpio 39 and opposition progressed c6 South Node at 25 Taurus 10.
Those are the major sets. I must caution that not all occurences of cancer occur in the 6th chart. I saw cancer in the 5th chart for cancer of the uterus. I have seen some charts where the cancer was difficult to identify. Perhaps the time or date of birth was wrong. Perhaps I was not looking in the right chart.
It is also likely that mars/saturn/neptune is indicative of more diseases than just cancer. They represent siege states. A number of diseases--AIDS, for one-- put the individual in similar physical overwhelm.
(1) Considering his autopsy report, it is unlikely Dooley's earlier tests showed him cancer-free.
(2) The Geneva Accords came at the end of the French Indochina war after the French were defeated by the Viet Minh in Dien Bien Phu in April, 1954. The Accords divided Vien Nam into North and South at the 17th parallel. Viet Namese who were north of it but wanted to be south, and vice versa, were given until the Spring of 1955 to move. After that, the border was closed. Operation Passage to Freedom helped people in the north come south. Most left everything they owned in order to flee to the non-Communist part of Viet Nam.
(3) He wrote two other books: The Edge of Tomorrow (1958), and The Night They Burned the Mountain (1960). All his books were best sellers.
(4) Approximately one degree per year for a progressing Midheaven, depending on the sign the sun is in. That amounts to approximately 5 minutes per month. Dooley lived almost 17 more months.
Before I Sleep...the Last Days of Dr. Tom Dooley, by James Monahan. NY: Farrar, Strauss and Cudahy, 1961.
Promises to Keep: The Life of Doctor Thomas A. Dooley, by Agnes W. Dooley. NY: Farrar, Strauss and Cudahy, 1962.
Give Joy to My Youth: A Memoir of Dr. Tom Dooley by Teresa Gallagher. NY: Farrar, Strauss and Cudahy, 1965
Dr. America: The Lives of Thomas A. Dooley, 1927-1961, by James T. Fisher. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press,1997.
Thomas A. Dooley, III
Birth: 1/17/1927, 2:20 a.m. CST, St. Louis, MO. In The American Book of Charts, by Lois Rodden. From D.C. Doane from the birth certificate. Mother's biography gives 2:30 a.m.
Conception: 4/06/1926, 1:05:18 a.m. CST, St. Louis, MO
Lois Rodden (C)
Birth: 5/22/1998, 12:27 a.m. MST, Lang, Canada. From the Rodden Database. Rectified from mom's "after midnight."
Conception: 8/14/1927, 10:59:36 a.m. MST, Lang, Canada
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