We Can Be Heroes--Astrological Gaze at David Bowie

David Bowie, 1947 - 2016
As we barely made it out of the gates of 2016, Capricorn musician icon David Bowie died from liver cancer. Not surprising his diagnoses from 18 months earlier hid behind a veil of secrecy (sun/Mars and Mercury in 12th House) and the nostalgia that resulted finds its connection in Mercury RX in Capricorn, but that's not all.

My friend and astrology colleague Jane Ritson from England sent me a cryptic e-mail message, "You heard about Bowie?" But this did not prepare me for the shock of learning about David Bowie's death at the age of 69, two days after his birthday and release of his final album. My grandmother and Saint Francis of Assisi also managed the fete of dying near their birth date. It's as if David Bowie, a Capricorn ruled by Saturn showed us how to transcend time and space, while breaking through the karmic gates. He even turned death into art with his video, "Lazarus" who Jesus raised from the dead. We have Bowie's lasting legacy including his final album released on his birthday, January 8, 2016.

It seemed appropriate to collaborate with Jane for the following two-part article and we've been sharing notes back and forth since the announcement of Bowie's death. Please note too that we're writing this article while Mercury is still RX in Capricorn. And that Mercury was at 0 degrees Aquarius on Bowie's birthday and at 29 degrees (endpoint) Capricorn on the day of his death. Bowie's chart ruler is Uranus and his Ascendant was at 3 degrees Aquarius.

And oddly, through most of my early adult years I assumed Bowie was Aquarius because of his androgyny and futuristic music. Mercury was dangerously close to Bowie's Ascendant prior to his death, but hovered in the 12th House of ghosts, invisible forces, and the unformed. The 12th House is also the house of dissolution and having a Capricorn Sun which is ruled by Saturn, Lord of Structure, led to Bowie constantly reinventing himself over the course of his music career that began in his teens.

So for the first part of this article, Jane explores David Bowie's Natal Chart and in part 2, I'll explore the transits for July 2014 when Bowie received his liver cancer diagnosis and then his death chart for January 10, 2016. Please note, that we're writing these articles on the fly with little time and energy to thoroughly research every time Uranus transits impacted Bowie's Sun and Mars at 17 and 16 degrees Capricorn in 2015 in the 12th House suggests an ending. While Pluto was only one degree from Natal Mars and 2 degrees away from Natal Sun suggesting a metamorphoses of the physical self, but sometimes physical death, in the case of Bowie whose body was slowly transformed by cancer (Pluto and Saturn). But he certainly didn't die a victim. His message is it would seem is even in death we rise to the occasion and we can be heroes. (A Pluto transit doesn't need to be exact to have an impact).

I also want to add that in my late teens and through my twenties, David Bowie had a huge influence on my music career and also on video production and photography. I once made a silly music video in college with my friends using Bowie's "Starman" and I can't to this day listen to that song without chuckling. Then Bowie's appearance in A Man Who Fell to Earth influenced a music video and short movie (nonsensical) that I produced my final year of college--a total bomb, but as my therapist at the time told me, even Bowie had to start somewhere and he failed along the way too, but rose gloriously over past failures.

A Man Who Fell To Earth (Exploring David Bowie's Natal Chart)

By Jane Ritson

David Bowie - of the earth or of the stars?

For a man who had an earth sign Sun David Bowie or rather David Robert Jones had a strong fascination with the stars.  With albums and songs such as Space Oddity, Life on Mars?, The Man Who Fell to Earth, Earthling, Starman.  Where did he feel his inspiration came from?  He once said ‘I am in awe of the universe but I don’t necessarily believe there is an intelligence or agent behind it.’

David Bowie had an Aquarius Ascendant and Sun linked to Uranus.  There are no signs more attuned to the spiritual realms and to the progression of humanity.  The Ascendant is the persona we create for ourselves and Aquarius is compelled to be different, to push the boundaries, to innovate, to experiment. 

There was always the pull between the earth, the ground and out there, the stars.  And this dichotomy produced brilliance.  With six quincunxes in his chart, including Sun quincunx Uranus he was compelled to reconcile the question of which planet he belonged on.

Capricorn, the sign of business will always out and David Bowie created Bowie Bonds, asset-backed securities which offered the purchasers a share in the revenue of his albums.  And also Bowienet, an internet service provider offering exclusive Bowie content.

A strong feature in his chart was Moon-Saturn-Pluto, a difficult combination in a difficult house.  This must have been a hard and painful legacy to live with, and suggest a lack of early love.  What better way to escape than into a series of alter-egos and colorful personalities.

David Bowie’s chart includes a Yod (Uranus, Jupiter, Mars and Sun).  His inner vision and idealism expanded his life and found an outlet in his personal work.  And the ideas kept coming and coming.

David Bowie also had to reconcile his desire for privacy and his need to perform.  His Sun was in the hidden 12th house and his Leo Moon next to the public Descendant.  When he was at school he suffered a serious injury and was hospitalized for four months.

He had a small talent triangle with Neptune, Pluto and his North Node which also linked to Mercury.  It was as if he was the voice of his generation.  He captured the public’s feelings.

With Mars tied to the Sun he had an endless supply of energy which propelled him to the top of his profession.  Mars is also the sign of masculinity.  David Bowie had Venus trine the Moon.  This is a very feminine combination indicative of a predominance of female past lives.  In this life he may have wondered about the difference between the sexes.  He admitted to being bisexual and then regretted the compulsion to shock, saying it wasn’t actually true but he needed to flout moral codes.

This multi-talented man - singer, songwriter, record producer, painter and actor left a final legacy - his life-long fascination with the stars but a darker perspective - Blackstar.  To the end he was still wondering ‘am I of the earth or of the stars?’

May you rest in stardust and peace, David Bowie...

Jane Ritson, Astrologer


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