'Move over Rover
Let Jimi take over'
The Jupiter-Uranus opposition of 1962 'coincided with the first recordings of Bob Dylan and the Beatles and the formation of the Rolling Stones, the three dominant creative forces in the musical culture of the sixties. … The following triple conjunction of Jupiter, Uranus and Pluto in 1968 – 69 coincided with what was in certain respects the climax of the classical era of rock, a twenty-four month period that brought a virtual Niagara Falls of creativity and many of the most celebrated works of this genre: all three of the Beatles' final albums …Hendrix's Axis: Bold as Love, Electric Ladyland and the titanic Star-Spangled Banner at Woodstock ….
Reflective of this creative outburst in the counterculture, sixteen mass music festivals, including Woodstock with its many musical triumphs, took place from the summer of 1968 through the summer of 1969, the average attendance at which was over one hundred thousand. No moment in the history of popular music is comparable to this period of the triple Jupiter-Uranus-Pluto conjunction, the only one of the twentieth century.1
Eras of Uranus-Pluto alignments (related by Tarnas to Promethian and Dionysian energies respectively) signified
intensifying and empowering on a massive scale the Promethius archetype of rebellion and freedom, creativity, innovation, and sudden radical change, associated with the planet Uranus.2
Tarnas linked this conjunction with 'the electrically powerful performances of the young Hendrix as he arrived in London during the conjunction of the 1960s' – comparing it with the previous Uranus-Pluto opposition of the 1790s,
the extraordinary epoch of empowered creativity in the preceding Uranus-Pluto opposition of the 1970s and French revolution, visible above all in the great romantic emergence in literature and the arts, philosophy and science of the time: Blake, Wordworth and Coleridge, Goethe and Schiller … etc.3
So the two 'big' events that marked the 'swinging sixties' were the Uranus-Pluto conjunction of 1965-6 (within one degree alignment), which happens once per century or so, and the Jupiter-Uranus conjunction of 1969, which happens every thirteen to fourteen years. These frame our story, with the latter aspect marking the Apollo moon landing as well as the Woodstock music festival.4 Concerning the Uranus-Pluto conjunction of 1966, 'One recalls the era's prevailing sprit of passionate energy and wild abandon. The unmistakeable cultural ambience which pervaded the sixties.'
Tarnas described how, 'After the period of brilliant group creativity sustained through their twenties, from 1962 to 1969, the four musicians [the Beatles] decisively moved away from each other in the course of their Saturn-return transits, preferring individual songwriting. After the age of thirty, their individual efforts seldom attained the creative brilliance of their youth, as if that particular form of creativity … ceased to thrive after the assimilation of the Saturn principle of maturity, separation, self-reliance…' Let's here make the comparison with Brian Jones bringing the Rolling Stones together in the spring of 1962, as the others would gather round to listen to him at the Marquee Club in London, and then after that same seven-year period he left it (or rather, was thrown out) in June, 1969. Jimi worked professionally as a musician from October 1962 when he emerged from the US army, to his death in September 1970, a seven-year period.
James Marshall Hendrix (1944 – 1970) had the seven years of his musical career measured out from the square of Uranus (i.e., to its natal position), to its trine at his death. The steps of the Uranus cycle are thus marked out in seven-year periods: from its square to its trine-return moves, normally from the ages of 21 to 27 years5. Because Neptune moves at just half the speed, these two events are also measured out by its semisquare and sextile-returns (i.e., 45° and 60°). Hendrix always felt there was an allotted period for him to live, he would not be afraid of death when it came for him:
"I'm the one that's gonna die when its time for me to die."6
We have made the comparison with another member of the 'club of 27' Brian Jones, who as we saw brought the Rolling Stones together at his Uranus-square and then left the group and died seven years later, at the trine. It was Brian who introduced Jimi to his American audience at Monterey.
Over their 27 years, these whom we may call the 'Children of Dionysus' – Jimi Hendix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morisson, Brian Jones - lived out just over one Uranus-trine, dying on average about five degrees after that trine (A trine spans 120º, one-third of a circle – and Uranus' orbit takes 84 years). But, hey, the Neptune-sextile (60º of its orbit) gave the most exact measure of their lifespans. They all passed away three degrees before this one-sixth angle had been measured out in the heavens!7 We are startled by the precision of this heavenly timing. Both Brian Jones and Hendrix well display this interval as measuring their musical career. A deeply Neptunian character, Jimi's inspiration seemed to come through the 'Divine dreamer' planet, Neptune. He did not commit suicide, and this is relevant for understanding the destiny of the 'hero'. These Children of Dionysus burn up and burn out like meteors illuminating our night sky, and that extinction ensures that their youthful image is immortalised. The Hero has to burn out in glory, he cannot just dodder on into old age like you and I.8
Lifespans – of the 'Club of 27' 9
|Jimi Hendrix||(Nov 27, 1942 - Sept. 18, 1970)||UR +6º||NE -3º|
|Brian Jones||(Feb 28, 1942 - July 3, 1969)||UR +4º||NE -3º|
|Janis Joplin||(Jan 19, 1943 - Oct. 4, 1970)||UR +8º||NE -3º|
|Jim Morrison||(Dec 8, 1943 - July 3, 1970)||UR +3º||NE -3º|
The last two columns show proximity to the Uranus-trine and Neptune-sextile-returns at death. Thus Uranus moved through 126º and Neptune through 57º during Jimi's life.
"Hendrix dreamed the impossible and achieved it on his guitar"10
Presiding at the top of his chart, Neptune irradiates the rest of it with harmonious trine and sextile aspects11.
When he turned down the volume, like in hotel rooms, and was forced to play very quietly, his music was like running water. It was dreamy and fluid with whispering singing lines. Very introspective and poetic.12
So down and down and down and down and down and down
Hurry my darlin', we mustn't be late for the show -
Neptune's champion gamesters …/ "This way", smiles a mermaid, .. 13
'His different names: Maurice James, Jimmy James and Jimmy Jim – the name changes reflected a trait that was a core part of Jimi's character: He was constantly reinventing himself whenever his interest in music, fashion, or culture changed. This chamelion-like nature would later make Jimi – as a star – appear mysterious and enigmatic.'14 If he tried to drive a car it would end up wrapped round a lamp-post or something; the phrase, 'totally hopeless' might here come to mind. He had no Earth in his chart, ie no planets in Earth-signs: 'Golden Rose, the Colour of a Dream I had.'
Valleys of Neptune:
I feel the ocean swaying me ...
washing away all my pains.
See where I was wounded,
Remember the scar ?
Now you can't see a thing ...
And I feel no pain --
Singing about the Valley of Sunsets
Green and blue ... Canyons too
Singing about Atlantis love songs.
The Valleys of Neptune is arising.
Mercury liquid ... Emerald's shining
Telling me where I came from --
Honey Sun ... Turquoise Bed he
lays in -- ... on the Burning edge Horizon.
That big Pluto-Jupiter-Uranus conjunction of the late sixties, fell on his Neptune. That was a generational experience, concerning that flower-power Generation, they were born with Neptune right there: for a while, they could be part of it. We were all a part of it. If that great belief later faded away, well that is how the cycles of heaven work. The above song was recorded with Uranus within a degree of his natal Neptune. 15
Jimi's chart expresses, more than any other you will ever see, the essence of funky rhythm. It's all trines and sextiles! This guy just had to sing, the tunes had to come tumbling out of him. All five 'club of 27' members (Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Brian Jones and Kurt Cobain) have in common an almost total absence of squares in their chart, plus a massive excess of trines and sextiles. 'Square' was a term of derision for them. Man, that's so square! They did not experience the normal constraints and limitations of life, but gave immortal expression to the Dionysian sense of rapture and abandon and we are grateful to them for not growing old. They never reached their Saturn-return at 29 years, a sobering-up period which marks the arrival of adulthood.
"I swear the night I was born / The moon it turned a hell-fire red," Jimi explained, adding: "my poor mother cried and said, The gypsy was right after all!" His chart's grand 'Axis Bold as Love' was aligned to the two major zodiac stars, Antares 'Heart of the Scorpion' and Aldebaran 'the Bull's Eye'. These stars, both red, in the centre of the zodiac, and exactly opposite each other, have long been associated with dire struggle and conflict17. That frightening axis put a high-powered zing into his life. Working within the blues tradition, he transformed the melancholy and sorrow inherent in that genre through his very own searing, soaring, electric nirvana18. Nobody can put their finger on what his musical style was, or copy it. The guitar spoke, when he played it, and the giant banks of electric equipment all obeyed him.
Nuclear power was unleashed, only a few days after his birth,19 and the Uranus-conjunct-Saturn on that mighty star-axis there signified the breakup of the atom itself, the very fabric of matter, as fissile nuclear energy started to function. The inner violence of that configuration was already forming, and this is pertinent to what Neil Spencer called the 'cataclysmic power chords'20 of Jimi's music.
The United States of America was founded in 1776 on July 4th when Uranus was 8° 55' of Gemini, in the wake of war against Britain, and that is Jimi's Saturn-position. Born around the time of the storming of the Normandy beaches by US and British troops, the three US 'club of 27' musicians had their Uranus and/or Saturn positions contacting the Uranus of America's founding chart, as it came back for its second return in its 84-year orbit. (Janis SA 6°, Jim M. UR 7°, Jimi SA 9° Gemini) On the most likely timing of the US chart, for its founding on the 4th July, the 8° Gemini-Sag line passes right across its Ascendent-descendent.21 This grand fixed-star opposition axis within the Hendrix chart was thus aligned with the horizon-line at America's formation. These singers were deeply connected the position of Uranus, the star of rebellion and revolution, at the founding of America. In April 1861 the first shots of the Civil War rang out, as Uranus had come back to its first return since the Declaration of Independence, so that it then stood at 9° of Gemini.22 These three Uranus-cycle returns were all about wars! In his rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner at Woodstock, Hendrix expressed the searing sound of bombs falling, in America's National anthem. Flower Power was a gentle movement, protesting against Vietnam.
Hendrix's chart contacted three first-magnitude stars. Regulus, 'Heart of the Lion' stood on his North Node23. These are bright stars, right in the Zodiac. He had Heart of the Scorpion as well as Heart of the Lion!
'Well, mountain lions found me there waitin'
And set me on an eagle's back' (Voodoo Child)
Its very rare to have three stars conjuncting the planets24 and let's bear this in mind, when listening to, eg, 'Stars that Play with Laughing Sam's Dice' ('STP-LSD'). Furthermore, the minute of his birth made the ascendant point right at the Galactic Centre, 26° Sagittarius: Ophiuchus rising. The Milky Way lay athwart his Ascendent-Descendent.
His planets are more or less all above the horizon. He lived out his life in public, it all went into his music, he did not have some hidden self tucked away. 'Music is my own personal diary' he told Melody Maker.
In May 1961, Jimi was let off two years in jail (for alleged car theft) on condition that he joined the army. He managed to get into the legendary 101st Airborne Division with its 'screaming eagles' insignia. He flew, with couple of dozen parachute drops in the '101st Airborne,' including one over Hawaii. He never killed anyone and saw no combat, thanks to the brevity of his one-year stint. Instead, he and Billy Cox formed a music duo 'The Kasuals' while in the army. His music sounded, Billy Cox remarked, like a combination of 'Beethoven and John Lee Hooker.' He escaped from the army after doing only one of his three years' service, by reporting to the psychiatrist about supposed homosexual fantasies: he was in love with a soldier, he alleged, and could not help masturbating – and was caught doing this in the barracks, probably intentionally. Weaving such an outrageous tale was a huge risk, but it worked and he was discharged. He would re-tell the story with a tale about ankle trouble! But, the record has him let out because of alleged 'homosexual tendencies.'25
The Uranus-square return at 21 years saw his life change from flying though the clouds to becoming the club musician. He avoided going to Vietnam – and, let's not even think about what that would have done to him. Those experiences of drifting under a parachute would (we conjecture) have assisted the spaced-out sounds of his later music. That autumn, Jimi met two of his big heroes, B.B.King and Albert King, as he learnt music orally. He never read a written score.
After discharge from the Army, he waited around till Billy Cox was released three months later, so they met up in September 1962. In Nashville the two then went into music full-time (Uranus at 3° Virgo). Mars and Venus were then transiting Jimi's Jupiter and Mars respectively, which would have helped to give him the courage to become a blues musician, plus the North node went over his Pluto, a moment of destiny. Jimi was destitute, with no home or money, just his guitar. At the end of 1962 he was playing an extended residency with the group at a Vancouver nightclub called Dante's Inferno. Other musicians took day jobs, but he only played music, getting by with some help from lady friends. During 1963 he would tend to get fired from backing groups for being too wild and not following the melody.
He played in Greenwich Village during the summer of '66 with his group the Blue Flames. Top guitarists came to listen, and felt burned-out by what they had heard, as if their own talent had somehow been negated. Linda Keith, Keith Richard's girlfriend, was his determined champion. On 5th July, mere days after the last exact Uranus-Pluto conjunction26, Linda brought Chas Chandler (of The Animals) to the 'Café Wha?', where Jimi was playing. 'I thought immediately he was the best guitarist I'd ever seen,' Chandler recalled. Transiting Neptune was then on Jimi's Mars, and Mercury over his Pluto. He persuaded Jimi to come to England. By late August Linda and Keith Richards had broken up, partly from jealousy over her friendship with 'Jimmy James.'
Jupiter (making a retrograde-loop) was weaving a triple passage over his Moon-Jupiter as he turned 24, and this transformed his life quite suddenly. Flying over to England, he and Chas Chandler agreed upon his name, Jimi Hendrix. He came to look like himself: pictures of him at Greenwich Village show a promising young musician, whereas by 1967 he looked like the man, where the world had better sit up and listen. On 9th September when he first played in London, which was the night he arrived, Jupiter stood on his Moon and Neptune plus that South Node were on his Mars. As Jimi started to play – mostly blues tunes, attendees would recall, the club (Scotch of St James, on 23 September) 'went silent and the crowd watched in a sort of shared rapture.' Eric Burdon of The Animals was there that night: 'It was haunting how good he was, you just stood and watched.' Kathy Etchingham came to watch, and she and he paired up within 24 hours.
'I used to dream in technicolour that 1966 was the year that something would happened to me,'27 he recalled – well, any astrologer could have told him that. But, even a Jupiter-return won't normally transform one into the world's number one rock-and-roll star. On the 6th October Mitch Mitchell joins the band and rehearsals of the Jimi Hendrix Experience start28. Comparing their charts:
|Jimi Hendrix||Mars 17°||Jupiter 24°||Mercury 2°||Uranus 2°|
|Mitch Mitchell||Jupiter 17°||Mercury 24°||South Node 1°||North Node 1°|
|Noel Redding||Saturn 23°|
Folks may have thought that band members were chosen for their frizzy hair-dos, but there was more to it than that. That was a powerful axis of symmetry he and Mitch had together – tilted at 7° to the star-axis of Saturn-Venus in Jimi's chart: his lunar nodes on Jimi's Mercury-opposition-Uranus helped that instant nonverbal rapport, of an electrical nature. And just look at all those lovely trines in Mitch's chart, especially a grand trine in water. Yep, this band could make the ladies cry. An inter-racial bonding took place with these strong and basic synastries. Noel Redding the other band member had his Saturn on Jimi's Jupiter and Moon on his Neptune. That is an awesome Jupiter-synastry, with all three of the Experience having key contacts around that Jupiter-position, and the band starting up during Jimi's triple Jupiter-return.
They started work on the LP Are You Experienced? on 2nd November29. On 12th November 1966 a total solar eclipse travelled across the Atlantic ocean, conjunct Neptune and Venus. It fell on Jimi's natal Mars30, as his psychedelic flower-power image was born (NB, an early poem of his was entitled, 'My Friends of Fashion Turned Out to be my Enemies of Thought'31). His first hit 'Hey Joe' stormed into the charts on December 16th, with Mercury at 7° Sag. Right on his star-axis (Venus 7 Sag., Saturn 9 Gemini) as well as the lunar node conjuncting his Mars.
London was the capital of the cultural world where the 'youthquake miracle' was happening. Hair was long, skirts were short, and British bands dominated the charts worldwide. Purple Haze was composed on Boxing Day, 1966. The effect of this JU-return was 'Everything that had once been so hard – getting attention for his music, trying to make enough money to live – suddenly was so easy it felt preordained.'32 In a pub with Noel Redding Jimi tasted English bitter for the first time. All the rock talent come to hear him, and The Cream composed their most famous song 'Sunshine of your Love' as a dedication to Jimi, after hearing him play at the Marquee in January.33 Not knowing this, Jimi often used to play it.
As Jupiter re-conjuncted his Moon at 28° Cancer, 'Wind cries Mary' with its gentle, feminine tone was composed:
After all the jets are in their boxes / And the
clouds have all gone to bed
You can hear Happiness marching / Footsteps dressed in red
And the Wind whispers Mary.
A broom is drearily sweeping / Up the broken pieces of yesterdays life
Somewhere a queen is weeping / Somewhere a king has no wife
And the Wind cries Mary.
Will the Wind ever remember / All the names it has called in the past?
And with this crutch, its old age, and its wisdom / It must know, this will be the last
And the wind cries Mary.
'No day in the entire history of the Experience was as productive as January 11, 1967'34 , his biographer Charles Cross concluded, and on the evening of that day they first played this song. It had been composed on the previous evening, following a row with his girlfriend Kathy Etchingham. She up smashed some plates and stormed out, after he made derogative remarks about her cooking, then she found that he had composed it when she returned. 'Mary' was her middle name35. On the 11th the Experience worked all day in their studio producing some new songs, including Purple Haze, then in the evening played at the Bag o' Nails in Soho: 'The crowd that gathered that night to watch the Experience was the ultimate who's who of London's rock elite.' Pete Townsend, Paul McCartney, Jagger, Marianne Faithful, Eric Clapton, Brian Jones – they were all there, listening in awe. The band played 'Wind Cries Mary' on the spot without rehearsal, and it became their third single.
Neptune on that night formed a quintile to Venus-conjunct-Moon. Jupiter transiting his natal Moon was enhanced by a grand trine with Saturn and Neptune, plus a Moon-opposite-Moon synastry that formed during the evening hours when it was played36. Saturn was quite strongly aspected, for a song about Time, being in opposition to Uranus/Pluto. All those trines and sextiles in the sky wove a remarkable pentagram structure, that was symmetrical around Neptune.
His first album 'Are You Experienced?' emerged immediately following this triple Jupiter-return. Jupiter stationed 22nd of March, and the week after re-crossed his natal Jupiter, going direct: 'Purple haze' was released 24 March 1967, then the first UK tour of the 'Experience' band was on 31 March, right on his last Jupiter-return. Three of his albums went into the charts during his JU-return: no performer ever enjoyed so rapid a rise to fame in British rock-and-roll history.
1 Or indeed, the 19th.century (Richard Tarnas, Cosmos and Psyche, 2006 NY, p. 328-9). How often you reckon these triple events happen, depends on what orbs you choose to use.
2 Ibid, p.167
3 Ibid, p.198. C.f. Walt Whitman's poem 'I Sing the Body Electric' composed in 1847 and published in 1855, with UR and PL conjunct in 1849 (thanks, A.T.).
4 Ibid, p.311.
5 See Richard Tarnas' Uranus and Prometheus, 1995.
6 From 'If 6 was 9' on Axis bold as Love.
7 Kurt Cobain is generally viewed as one of the 'club of 27' a later generation: for his lifespan the figures are UR-trine return +3º, Ne-Sextile return -1º i.e. much the same.
8 Of the classical three Fates, Atropos was the one who cut off the length of life, so this is an Atropos-type concept we are here mulling over!
9 Letter by NK in The Mountain Astrologer, September 2004.
10 David Stubbs in Amazon Review: www.amazon.com/Axis-Bold-Jimi-Hendrix-Experience/dp/B000002P5W
11 'Third Stone From The Sun: The Birth Chart of Jimi Hendrix' by Laura Boomer and Neil Spencer, in Jimi Hendrix, The Ultimate Experience by Adrian Booty and Chris Salewicz (1995).
12 Jimpress69, October 2000, Paul Caruso interview p.15.
13 The next line (hard to hear) might be 'I can see Atlantis, full of cheer.'
14 Charles Cross, Room full of Mirrors, a biography of Jimi Hendrix 2005, p.119.
16 27 November 1942, 10.15 PWT +7.00 Seattle, USA.
17 Of Antares, 'all astrologers have noted it as an indicator of success in war' [eg, Winston Churchill has Sun conjunct Antares] ...'What does tend to show up when these two stars [Antares and Aldebaran] are both engaged on the horoscope of a conflict,.. is that peace rarely ensues before the total and crushing defeat of one side or the other.' The Living Stars, Eric Morse, 1998.
19 Uranium pile goes critical: Dec 2, 1942, 3.20 pm just outside Chicago.
20 Neil Spencer, True as the Stars Above, 2000, p.221.
21 Nicholas Campion, the Book of World Horoscopes, 2004, p.264.
22 Alex Trenoweth, Uranus, Flower-Power and the Children of Dionysus www.astrolodge.co.uk/clubof27/articles/revolution.html
23 Their orbs were, node on Regulus, 19'; Saturn on Aldebaran 26'; Venus on Antares 1º 26'.
24 Other strong characters having three stars are Lady Di and Winston Churchill.
25 Charles Cross was the only biographer who checked this out: ref. 14, p.93.
26 John Etherington, "Planetary Cycles and 'the spirit of rock 'n' roll'" the Astrological Journal Sept. 2006, p.48: 'In 1967, psychedelia flourished as Uranus, still closely conjunct Pluto, was sextiling Neptune.'
27 Cross ref. 14, p.118.
28 The lunar South node at 16 Scorpio was then aligned with their Mars / Jupiter synastry.
30 Sun at 19° Scorpio; Neptune was then moving away from his Mars, at 21°
31 Cross, p.129
32 Cross, p157
33 Shapiro, p.137
34 Cross, p.176.
35 Kathy Etchingham, Through Gypsy Eyes, 1999, p88: 'Mary is my middle name, and the one he would use when he wanted to annoy me.' I couldn't even locate her date of birth.
36 An e-mail from Charles Cross confirmed this evening date for the song's appearance.
Hendrix in Dutch TV, 1967 - Copyright: A. Vente - Beeld en Geluidwiki - Gallery: Hoepla via Wikimedia Commons CC-BY-SA-3.0-nl
Unknown U.S. Army personnel - , as originally printed in a Fort Ord Training Center yearbook - via Wikimedia Commons - public domain.
Jimi Hendrix at the amusement park Gröna Lund in Stockholm, Sweden, May 24, 1967. Public domain.
Warner/Reprise Records, promotional photo of The Jimi Hendrix Experience, public domain
Album cover for the U.S. version of Are You Experienced by en:The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Reprise LP 6261. Public domain.
First published in: The Astrological Journal, Mar/Apr 2009
At Cambridge Nick Kollerstrom missed the opportunity of
hearing Jimi Hendrix though fate would place him in San Francisco in the
summer of '67, an experience that would have an everlasting effect on him.
His long term partner, born in '66, would also carry the Pluto-Uranus
conjunction within her. With Mike O'Neill he discovered 'The Eureka
Effect' of septiles and quintiles for scientific inspiration.
Nick has produced Britain's lunar gardening guide on and off since 1980. and organized a 'Children of Dionysus' workshop back in 2005. Nick has a fascination with the holistic maths that keeps turning up in Britain's crop circles: www.hypermaths.org and for 11 years he was a science historian at University college, London.
© Nick Kollerstrom - published by The Astrological Association of Great Britain 2009 / 2014
The Astrological Association is a registered charity dedicated to the support and promotion of astrology in all its branches. For over fifty years, it has been serving the astrological community through informing and bringing together astrologers from all over the world, via its stable of publications, its annual Conference, Kepler Research Day and other occasional events, and its support of local astrological groups. It also represents the interests of astrologers generally, responding when appropriate to issues raised within the media.
The first book available in English by the great French master astrologer Andre Barbault. The Value of Astrology offers incisive, captivating insights into the origins, classical tradition and modern uses of astrology.
24-May-2018, 02:41 UT/GMT
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