The Aquarian and Uranian nature of progressive rock



As both a fan and musician, I have had more than a passing interest in progressive rock (prog rock or prog) for the last forty years. As an astrologer for the last thirty years, I noticed some time ago that Aquarian and Uranian themes are very common in the charts of many progressive rock musicians and that the whole musical genre is essentially Aquarian-Uranian in nature. From the often original and experimental nature of the music, to the eccentric musicians themselves, to the frequently intellectual lyrics in search of the truth. Not all Aquarian and Uranian musicians are prog rockers and not all progressive rock musicians have Aquarius or Uranus strong in their charts but the link is there.

Progressive rock gradually evolved out of the late 1960s, beginning with the more experimental sides of the likes of The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, The Beach Boys and others. “Progressive” and “experimental” are of course words that are frequently associated with the astrological symbolism of Aquarius and its ruling planet Uranus, both being concerned with challenging existing conventions and exploring new territory. It has been suggested that Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) by The Beatles was the first progressive rock album and it certainly has many features that have come to be recognised as prog rock trademarks. There is an overall concept, a Progrockcolourful album cover – a piece of art in itself – and an extraordinarily wide range of musical and lyrical influences. Others have suggested that In The Court Of The Crimson King (1969) by King Crimson was the beginning of progressive rock. By the 1970s and the likes of Pink Floyd, Genesis and Yes having established themselves, progressive rock had emerged as a subgenre in its own right. The term “prog”, sometimes used in a jokey or derogatory sense, appeared much later.



SevenFourUnusual and quirky (Aquarius) time signatures and unconventional song structures are often a feature of progressive rock. Rather than conforming to the more typical 4/4 rock and pop beat, artists such as King Crimson, Pink Floyd and Porcupine Tree often use alternatives such as 7/4 or 13/8. Pink Floyd’s Money on Dark Side Of The Moon and Peter Gabriel’s Solsbury Hill are examples of using a 7/4 time signature. Aquarian progrock often breaks the musical rules in all sorts of ways – the traditional verse and chorus structures are frequently avoided in favour of extended instrumental sections or other alternatives. Unpredictability is the name of the day, although critics have observed that this can seem musically pretentious, sometimes appearing to sound different for the sake of being different. Such criticism is of course unlikely to bother a musician with several planets in Aquarius or a strong Uranus in their birth chart, who will follow their own path, regardless.

Dave Gilmour, Sun square Uranus

Dave Gilmour, Sun square Uranus

A quick look at the astrological charts of famous progressive rock musicians confirms the prominence of either Aquarius or many close aspects between Uranus and the personal planets. Guitarist Dave Gilmour of Pink Floyd was born a Pisces Sun with a square to Uranus. In a 2014 interview promoting Floyd’s The Endless River album, producer Youth gave a perfect Sun-Uranus description when  commenting on his experience of working with Gilmour:- “It’s funny with David, you think he’s going to be one way and then he goes completely the other. He’s unpredictable like that, and that’s good” (1). Keyboard player Rick Wakeman of Yes has Moon and Jupiter in Aquarius, flautist and singer Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull (a brilliant eccentric if ever there was one!) has Mars conjunct Uranus in 10th house. The extraordinarily gifted and uniquely intelligent guitarist Robert Fripp (King Crimson) was born with a close Venus conjunct Uranus trine Jupiter and another multi-talented guitarist and musician Steve Hillage (originally with the eccentric and sometimes brilliant Gong) was born with a close Mars conjunct Uranus at the apex of a Cardinal T-square. Kate Bush, who made her spectacular live comeback in 2014, has pretty much transcended all genres but the strong prog leanings are there. She has a natal Sun-Uranus conjunction and almost certainly, depending on the time of birth, Moon in Aquarius.


Peter Gabriel's Aquarian birth chart

Peter Gabriel’s Aquarian birth chart

At their 1970s peak, Genesis were one of the most interesting and innovative progressive rock bands. A very English group of musicians making clever and eccentric (Aquarius/Uranus) music, fronted by Peter Gabriel’s clever and eccentric theatrical performances.  Although Genesis became more commercially successful after Phil Collins took over as singer, most prog fans consider that the more interesting and original ideas (Aquarius/Uranus) started to run out after first Gabriel and then Steve Hackett left the band. Both Hackett and Gabriel have natal Sun, Venus and Jupiter in Aquarius, being born one day apart on 12th February 1950 and 13th February 1950 respectively. The Aquarian urge for freedom and independence would have played its part in them branching out to pursue extremely successful solo careers, each achieving substantial international recognition for their artistic brilliance across a number of musical genres.

Peter Gabriel - Sun, Venus and Jupiter in Aquarius

Gabriel – Sun, Venus and Jupiter in Aquarius

With his Aquarian Sun and other 7th house Aquarian planets on display to the public, Peter Gabriel is the living embodiment of the most highly evolved Air sign. A major feature of Gabriel’s birth chart (2) is a powerful close opposition between Pluto in Leo on the Ascendant and Jupiter in Aquarius on the Descendant. Gabriel has achieved huge recognition and success as both a Pluto in Leo rock musician and a Jupiter in Aquarius visionary humanitarian. The tension between these two is mediated by a gifted and magical conjunction between Mars and Neptune in Libra, a perfect combination for a socially conscious artist and musician. He has often been years ahead of his time (Aquarius), from his founding of the Womad festival, to his support for world music through his record label and recording studio, to his involvement with one of the first music download services, OD2. Receiving the Prog God award at the annual Progressive Music Awards in London, September 2014 from comedian and prog fan Bill Bailey (there’s a fair bit of Aquarius in his chart too), Gabriel said:- “Despite prog probably being the most derided musical genre of all time there were – as today – a lot of extraordinary musicians trying to break down the barriers to reject the rules of music… We didn’t always get it right, but when it did work we could move people and get some magic happening.” (3)


Steve Hogarth and Fish - Mars in Aquarius

Steve Hogarth and Fish – Mars in Aquarius

Mainstream progressive rock was carried into the 1980s by Marillion, who are still going strong today. Both the original Marillion singer Fish and new boy Steve Hogarth (who has actually been with the band since 1990) have a prominent Mars in Aquarius. It has often been said that guitarist Steve Rothery is Marillion’s greatest musical asset, and Rothery was born with an almost exactly stationary Uranus in Leo. (Astrologer Stephen Arroyo recently observed that due to the use of computers, the importance of natal stationary planets is now often over-looked (4), something that contemporary astrologers might want to bear in mind.) Marillion were years ahead of everyone (Aquarius) when they famously first used crowdfunding to raise money for an American tour in 1997. As with many newer and lesser known 21st century prog acts, the Aquarian internet has continued to be essential to the band, enabling them to build a worldwide fanbase whilst remaining largely independent (Aquarius) of the music industry.

Francis Dunnery, Sun trine Uranus

Francis Dunnery – an astrologer with Sun trine Uranus


No piece on astrology and prog would be complete without a mention of Francis Dunnery, who is himself an accomplished astrologer. The inspired ex-It Bites and ex-Robert Plant guitarist and songwriter has a close Sun-Uranus aspect and Saturn in Aquarius. Appropriately, he runs his own label called Aquarian Nation.

Although progressive rock has always survived and thrived underground, it was uncool for many years. Since Radiohead’s OK Computer in the late 1990s, prog rock’s influence has become increasingly acceptable in the mainstream again – prog is no longer quite such a dirty word!


  1. “The Making of The Endless River”, Prog magazine, October 2014, p.44.
  2. Peter Gabriel, born 4.30 pm, 13th February 1950, Woking, England. Time of birth is from memory, according to databank.
  3. “Peter Gabriel honoured at Prog music awards”, BBC News website, 12th September 2014.
  4. “Experiments and Experience with Astrology: Reflections on Methods and Meaning”, Stephen Arroyo, CRCS Publications, November 2013.

This article was originally written for a book on the astrology of music, due to be published by Flare Publications, UK.

National anti-fracking rally


Massive national anti-fracking rally coming up in Manchester on 12th November. Following on from David Cameron’s government “going all out for shale” (which includes bribes to local communities affected by fracking), Theresa May has continued the support for fracking by recently overruling Lancashire County Council and going against massive local protest. Even New Scientist magazine is now wondering why the government continues to go down this road. Banned in many countries, incompatible with climate change targets (why invest in inappropriate infrastructure and jobs that will only last a few years at most?), no guarantee that it will save the public any money, environmental risks. Nothing has changed since the 2013 protests in Balcombe, which convinced me that fracking will never take off in this country. The massive lorries alone are a nightmare! The government apparently wants a fight on this one, it looks like they will get it. The farce continues. More info on the event at



Newcrosshealthcare employee review – £50 fine for being ill?


Mostly good, too corporate. A very “mixed” four years.

newcrossWhen I first joined, the Brighton branch was run by a very good manager. For the likes of me (healthcare assistant and support worker, on and off for twenty years, including a great deal of agency experience) and qualified RGNs, there was plenty of work available (mostly in care homes) and we were very well supported. After the manager suddenly left, things went slowly downhill. They’ve recently closed the Brighton branch, running any remaining business from Eastbourne.

Pros and cons

Holiday pay is included in the hourly rate. Pay is not bad but they pull a bit of a fast one by including “holiday pay” in the hourly rates. It may look as though you are being paid more than other care agencies – often around £8.00 for day shifts (below a real living wage), more for nights and weekends – it’s actually about the same or slightly less than other agencies.

Variable management. At least at the branch where I was. One stand-in manager was extremely insensitive during an annual staff review and I made my feelings clear to her and to the regional manager at the time. Newcross can be overly corporate, the word care in Newcrosshealthcare is sometimes overlooked – I had to stand up to them a few times.

newcross2The £50 fine for being ill! What on earth are they on about!? It may discourage people from phoning in sick but it really upsets and undermines staff. Fortunately, I’m in good health so this outrageous policy only affected me a couple of times. On more than one occasion, I worked with Newcross staff who had come into work with stinking flu in a care home, rather than go through the hassle of the £50 cancellation process i.e. getting a refund after a doctor’s note.

The call centre in Devon is sometimes at odds with the local branch. At one stage I put in a complaint about an incredibly rude and unprofessional call worker. At other times I would ring in to register my availability (Newcross tend to be a bit obsessed with this) and would later find out that it hadn’t been put on the system. On the whole though, most staff were doing a good job, some were lovely people.

Continually recruiting new staff when there aren’t enough shifts for existing staff. Newcross regularly sent me enthusiastic text messages, reminding me how I can earn a bonus for recommending people to work locally. Fair enough if there was plenty of work to go round but this was often far from the case!

newcrosstwitterMostly good but too corporate. Newcross sometimes seem a bit too concerned with their self-described corporate mission “to dominate the market”, rather than respecting their staff at all levels. Despite that, thank you to them for helping me pay the bills for the last four years, I made some good friends and enjoyed much of the work particularly the many regular homes and clients. I know from experience that some agencies are worse. I’m now at a smaller, more local agency which is generally a bit more human.

A shortened version of the above has been posted on, the job website.

Tony Blair – astrological birth chart

With the recent publication of the Chilcot report, here is an updated look at Tony Blair’s astrology chart (born 6.10 a.m., 6th May 1953, Edinburgh in Scotland). Blair of course had the same natal chart at the time of his landslide victory in 1997, at the time of his decision to invade Iraq, and now. As a life changes, so does the interpretation of the birth chart.

Although Tony is an Earth Sun sign Taurus, Air is the strongest element, with a clear emphasis on idealism, social development and communication. In common with many ambitious and driven individuals, Tony has a fairly close square between his Sun and Moon, Taurus and Aquarius respectively. Taurus is solid, down-to-earth, often conventional and materialistic. Aquarius is idealistic, a social reformer, often unconventional, even eccentric.

Another obvious strong feature of the chart is a powerful conjunction of Mars (supported by expansive Jupiter) close to his Gemini Ascendant (rising sign). Any planet this close to the Ascendant degree in anyone’s chart represents a dominant energy of the personality. The Mars in Gemini individual asserts themselves flexibly, verbally and cleverly but dualistic Gemini can often be a bit too clever. Blair’s Gemini ability to communicate enthusiastically and openly is exaggerated by nearby Jupiter in Taurus. These characteristics dominate Blair’s whole personality, bringing an air of confidence, good luck and natural leadership ability. However, it’s perhaps worth noting that Donald Trump also has a close conjunction of the red planet Mars to the Ascendant degree and as the classical music composer Gustav Holst observed, Mars is also “the Bringer of War”.


As shown by the Aquarian Moon close to his North Node in the 10th house, Blair has always been genuinely driven to make his mark on the world by expressing his humanitarian instincts. The Saturn-Neptune conjunction in Libra and his 6th house is also a sign of being committed to putting ideals of harmony and fairness into practice through hard work. At its best expression, this is an excellent combination for a diplomat. Some people now understandably dismissive of Blair as a money-grabbing warmonger might easily forget his work on Human Rights, the Northern Ireland peace process, and even apparently successful military intervention in Sierra Leone where he is widely regarded as a hero.

With chart ruler Mercury opposite Neptune and Saturn, ideas and words may not be what they seem – a struggle with straightforward communication is clearly shown. Tony has his Sun in the 12th house too, an astrological indicator that frequently corresponds with a complicated or confused sense of identity. At best, any ego problems here can be transcended and shared with the collective consciousness and there is often a spiritual theme to the life of a 12th house individual. Blair’s 12th house relationship with God and, as he sees it, the fight against global evil are fundamental to understanding the man.

BlairChilcotAs the Chilcot report approached, the bad publicity for Blair suddenly appeared under the first pass of a Uranus transit, opposing his Saturn-Neptune conjunction with a square to his Chiron in Capricorn, around April-May 2016. A simple interpretation of that could be “a shocking awakening to the balance between Blair’s idealism and realism, together with his wounded ability to take responsibility”, Chilcot confirming what we already knew.

Will Tony Blair be held accountable? Current reports say that he won’t have to face trial for war crimes. The financial integrity of Blair’s business and charity empire has also been questioned. The next two passes of that Uranus transit to Blair’s Saturn-Neptune are in late October-early November 2016 and late February-early March 2017. Pluto also continues to transit his Sun, Venus and Uranus, from mid-August through to early November this year. Over the next few years, both Uranus and Pluto continue to transit all Blair’s significators in the second half of the Cardinal signs and by 2018, Saturn will be well into his 8th house of transformation and “death and re-birth”. Pluto squares Saturn-Neptune in 2019, on its way up to Blair’s Midheaven.

pluto-glyphHowever they play out, there’s clearly some seriously confronting, tumultuous times ahead for Tony Blair.

Farmageddon – The True Cost of Cheap Meat

farmageddonjpegFor anyone who has not cottoned on to how much harm is being done (to animals, people and the planet) by current methods of food production, I highly recommend this book. The authors demand that we reconsider how we are raising animals for meat and ask many other serious questions about our methods of agriculture and eating patterns across the world. For anyone who has already studied the issues here, there may not be much that is new.

A wide range of different types of damage caused by modern farming techniques are examined in great detail. The scarcity of bees, the massive overuse of antibiotics in farm animals (“Roughly half of all antibiotics produced in the world go to food animals”), the use of cereals and grains as animal feed instead of for direct human consumption (“A third of the world’s cereal harvest is used for animals. If it went directly to human’s instead, it would feed about 3 billion people”) the problems in modern fish-farming such as sea lice and waste (“A fifth of the world’s fish is effectively being wasted feeding other fish”) and so on.

Author Philip Lymbery

Author Philip Lymbery

Industrial agriculture is yet another example of how placing corporate profits before people and the environment is, in the long-term, self-destructive madness. The authors finish with the importance of consumer power and a call for more compassionate and realistic solutions as the way forward. Reduce and recycle food waste, take animals out of the factory sheds and restore them to the land, eat less meat, buy organic and free-range. Farming – a return to the old ways of mixed farming with plants and animals on the same farm. Use natural manure to fertilize crops, doing away with the giant pits of excrement found on mega-farms.

Many people still want to believe that pigs and cows and sheep and chickens all live on Old MacDonald’s farm, happily chomping away at grass in the fields or pecking in the farmyard, despite all the evidence that’s now available to the contrary. This book is a powerful, comprehensive and balanced wake-up call that doesn’t preach and it doesn’t say that we should all be vegan or even vegetarian. Time for us all to open our eyes a bit.

Elephant in the room


Astrological mid-life crisis, age 37-42



The astrological mid-life crisis (crisis = danger + opportunity, according to the Chinese) occurs for everyone at around age 37-42. It would be more accurate to describe the process as a series of crises. The exact timing varies and depends on the individual birth chart, but this is one of those astrological cycles that everyone experiences at roughly the same age. The peak of it usually lasts two to three years. Important long-term changes (some astrologers now consider an astrological mid-life up to age 50) are common as a result of how the person deals with the challenges that come up. As always, and at the risk of stating the obvious, you have a choice as to how you deal with it all.

At around age 37 or so, Pluto squares natal Pluto – difficult but potentially deep evolutionary change that confronts some of us with internal and external power struggles and buried resentments. We may go a bit crazy as Pluto takes us on a healing journey, particularly if Pluto or Scorpio are strong in the birth chart.

NeptuneGlyph1Neptune squares its natal position in the chart at around age 41 and this can be very confusing and disorientating. Deeply held dreams and ideals can suddenly seem empty or no longer relevant. Disappointment and disillusionment is common, and a letting go of old attachments is necessary before the individual can begin to develop a restored sense of faith and philosophy of life.

Uranusglyph1The Uranus opposition Uranus transit at age 40-41 is often even more disrupting and in a different way. It has often been described as one of the most important astrological phases of one’s life. Uranus is the great awakener, that stirs up our reality so that we are never the same again afterwards. Sudden shocks, realizations, and complete changes of life direction are common at this time. Re-discovering one’s freedom and unique sense of individuality is important. Some people leave a marriage, relationship, or job. Others may go through a crisis in these areas that eventually strengthens their original commitment. The challenge is to be able to make the necessary changes without “throwing the baby out with the bath water”.


If we manage to cope with these potential crises during our late thirties and early forties, a significant amount of unnecessary baggage can be left behind. The individual birth chart will give other indicators as to how easy or difficult this process is likely to be.

Please note, this is a deliberately brief and general summary. Good luck to all!