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Thursday, November 3, 2016
Artist Spotlight--Eva Cassidy (Patron Saint of Obscurity), Part Two
Before I get into part two of my Eva Cassidy spotlight, I want to share a story with you. During the fall of 1983, my mother and I were passing through a department store and I came across a section where the store sold electronic keyboards. Now, I first want to say that I have never had any piano lessons and yet, I went into a trance when I placed my hands on an electronic keyboard and someone played music through me.
Around two decades later when I was watching the fake documentary, 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould, I heard a man chuckling. It was the late Glenn Gould who had died a year prior to my department store experience. And my thoughts returned to the scene in the department store when I woke up from the trance and people were applauding. My mother had turned to me and said, "When did you learn to play the piano?" I hadn't, but Glenn Gould introduced me to the world of channeling, long before I had an interest in it. Incidentally, when I performed my own music years later, I told people that I channeled the songs, but I don't know from where I channeled those songs.
Recently, the late Eva Cassidy found me on YouTube. Oddly, in my 30 years as an arts journalist, I had not heard of this obscure singer, not even after she enjoyed posthumous fame and people shared her demos with the world. A black and white image of Eva caught my attention on YouTube and she seemed familiar to me so I clicked on the video. I was blown away by her immaculate vocal phrasing and emotional coloring of her songs. I fell in love with Eva and I'm referring to Universal Love. And I wanted to know, who are you so that led me to look at her birth and other astrology charts.
This is part two of my exploration. This article is for the intermediate astrology students or expert astrologer as it is technical. Feel free to view my Astro Cheat Sheet if you're not versed in astrology. I will do my best not to speak in jargon, but I admit that astrologers are sometimes the equivalent of tech people. However, when I refer to Ram, I'm referring to Aries.
Now, Jupiter is both a benefactor in that it brings us good luck, but it also brings expansion in ways that are not to our liking such as with disease. I believe too that Jupiter can represent fate and our soul path, as it did for Joan of Arc who had Jupiter attached to her fate.
For me, my Saturn Return represented a time of illness (that spanned over a decade). I think Eva's Saturn Return also brought illness, but with a huge spiritual component. I say this because, at that time, Uranus joined Neptune in Capricorn (which rules skin, sudden events, spiritual breakthroughs, and music). Uranus and Neptune were transiting Eva's Natal Mercury in her Fourth House of home/mother/ancestry. So Uranus brought a sudden event to the homefront, but with a spiritual component signified by Mercury.
Now, I don't know anything about Eva's spirituality or spiritual path. But I do know that when outer planets conjunct each other in an angular house in a birth chart (1st, 4th, 7th, 10th houses), something major occurs. And she also completed her Saturn Return which acts as a major turning point in a young adult's life. In fact, it is a rite of passage. When many people are diagnosed with cancer of any kind, they turn within and often times, they turn to spiritual practices to make sense of the illness. A Uranus transit in Eva's chart is doubly important too because Uranus is the ruling planet of her chart along with Venus (Ruling planet of her Rising Sign Libra). Venus can represent health in an astrology chart and with a Libra Ascendant, any imbalance to the body (too much sun for instance) could result in disease. Libra rules the scales.
This causes my eyes to roam over to Eva's Sixth House which rules health among other themes. Venus transits at 29 degrees Pisces. Both Pisces and 29 degrees represent endpoints or dissolution in the case of Pisces. Pisces in the Sixth House can also represent victims, martyrs, saints, or servants. Here is someone who loved her work (not just her musical career). She saw her work as a spiritual service. As Venus transited through this house, it could very well usher in a time of illness.
I remember the opening scene from French filmmaker Agnes Varda's movie, Cleo 5 to 7 in which Cleo receives a Tarot card reading. The Tarot reader points to a Venus card and says that Venus, in this case, represents bad health. Cleo is later diagnosed with cancer which is her worst fear coming true. Yet, the character makes peace with the diagnosis.
Now, I don't know the date when Eva's doctor diagnosed her with skin cancer, but a Solar Return chart predicts events for the upcoming Solar year (until the next birthday). Having Venus transiting through the Sixth House in the last degrees of Pisces is referring to transcendence--or a time of dissolution of matter. Transiting Venus also represented creating beauty through daily work. Eva worked as a landscaper in her day job and her music certainly contributed beauty to the planet.
We also see the North Node in Zodiac Cancer approaching Natal Venus in the Third House. So this tells me that Eva was communicating a fateful message. North Nodes represent fate and the Third House represents communication as well as, learning and thinking styles. Having Natal Venus in the Third House again is about communicating beauty in the world. She would also suffer from a tendency towards perfection. Someone with Venus in the Third House would also make an excellent public speaker, radio host, or vocalist. Venus rules the throat and vocalist and the Third House again represents communication.
Venus rules the Second House and we see Pluto transiting through Eva's Second House of talents, skills, values, and in her case, musical gifts. Pluto transits in Scorpio, it's own sign, and Scorpio and Pluto represent death, rebirth, and transformation. Pluto can also rule cancer, radiation treatment, and our facing the darker side of life.
Transiting Jupiter (in Libra) crossed the Ascendant in 1992 and moved into Eva's First House. When Jupiter transited into Scorpio, it connected with Eva's Neptune. This is important to know because Jupiter is working on achieving balance by expanding upon Eva's identity with herself, not to mention calling attention to any imbalances in the body. Jupiter expands what it touches. And when Jupiter transited in Eva's Twelfth House it connected with Pluto (in Virgo) so my guess is that cancer was already forming in Eva's body as early as 1992 or her lifestyle was out of balance which would create cancer. Jupiter always expands what it touches, even disease.
Three years later, in 1996, Eva turned 33 years of age on her February 2nd birthday. If Eva were a client of mine in 1996 (I wasn't even practicing astrology yet), I would not have mentioned an upcoming death, but I would have seen a dissolution of matter happening in the 6th Natal House. Remember that Eva had Jupiter at 15 degrees Pisces in the Sixth House. So an astrologer might have seen a change in location or a change in the daily environment that was spiritually driven.
Since Eva was born with her Sun conjunct Saturn in Aquarius, she was not only way ahead of her time, but Saturn delays success. Eva was going to find her own far-out way to achieve success, even if that was from the Great Beyond. A person with Jupiter in Pisces in either the Sixth or Twelfth House has an expanded, even multidimensional soul. She most likely enjoyed her time on earth which comes through in her joyful voice, but with Jupiter in Pisces, she would have felt lost here too, or that she just couldn't make it work in this realm.
And so in 1996, the Venus and Saturn transits in Pisces in the Sixth House played a significant role in creating dissolution in Eva's body. I suspect the cancer was already spreading in her organs as early as March 1995, but I'm not a medical expert. Other transits in this chart that point towards problems with the body, are the North Node and Chiron crossing the Ascendant (Libra) and creating an imbalance in the physical body created by thoughts, beliefs, and childhood issues coming up.
And adding to this emotional turmoil, the moon was transiting in Cancer (10th House) and opposing Mercury/Neptune/Uranus in Capricorn and squaring the North Node in Libra (transiting in the 1st House). Since Neptune/Uranus/Mercury transiting in Capricorn, we're looking at skin again since Capricorn rules the skin. And if we want to be literal, the Cancer Moon could very well represent the disease cancer. Uranus brings on the unexpected. Neptune brings dissolution of matter, and Mercury rules thoughts, such as not feeling comfortable in one's skin.
However, despite the disease creeping into Eva's body, I see success for her in 1996 or at least recognition. Saturn and Venus crossing her Natal Jupiter in the Sixth House would have caused her to take her music career to the next level. She would have applied discipline and she would have refined her craft or changed her the material she performed.
Any music she recorded and performed during that year would also bring balance to the listener and even act as a healing balm. This is because transiting Chiron and the North Node in Libra transiting in the First House would empower Eva's healing abilities. And many musicians are healers whether they have this awareness or not. Music is powerful medicine and many people believe that musicians are a type of shaman or channel. We can look at Mozart, an Aquarius as proof of that.
And let's not forget the magic of Sacred Geometry that plays out in Eva's death. She died at the age of 33 (sacred geometry which focuses on the numbers 3, 6, 9, and 12) and she died in 1996. Not only that, she died on All Soul's Day when the veils between the living and the dead are at their thinnest. And 2016 marks the 20th anniversary of Eva's death and while that isn't sacred geometry it is synchronicity that I would discover her right before this anniversary and write this article.
Another interesting aspect of this chart is the Progressed Moon at one degree Virgo joining up with Natal Uranus with a 3 degree orb. What this means in plain English is that each of us has progressed planets in our charts. As we age, our planets progress in degrees and signs. Astrologers look at the faster moving progressions which include the moon through Mars. This transit is important for several reasons but mainly that Uranus is the planetary ruler of Eva's Sun Sign, Aquarius. Her Natal Chart Rulers are Uranus, Venus, and Mercury which have all played key roles in the transit charts I've presented in this article.
I'm sure that her death came as a shock to many people and even to this day because of the Progressed Moon connecting with the planet of the unexpected and shock (Uranus). Uranus was in Virgo when Eva was born and Uranus in Virgo represents technology along with Aquarius. So here we have someone who became famous through new technology (the internet). She also, in her own way, sent shockwaves through the music industry by becoming famous despite not fitting into any proscribed music genre. She wasn't glamorous, but she was an honest performer to a fault. Even though she performed and recorded cover songs, she did them her own way, instead of imitating the original singers of those songs.
Personally, in the 30 years that I devoted to reviewing music and interviewing musicians, I have not run across any musicians as uniquely powerful as Eva Cassidy. Why I had not heard of her until recently is a mystery to me. But I can tell you this, as someone who has suffered from obscurity in all my endeavors (up until now), I can relate to a person who refused to compromise her musical gifts to fit into an industry. I was the same way when I was a professional musician. Viva la Eva!
Since this labor of love took me several days to complete, I would feel honored to receive any donations for my research. You can send a money order or check to: Patricia Herlevi, PO Box 2561, Bellingham, WA 98227 (A PayPal option is also available, but please contact me for the address). Thank you.