Inspired by Saturn – rock and pop musicians

Pondering my own second Saturn return next year (aaargh!), I thought it would be interesting to have a quick look at some of the wide range of musicians who have been inspired by Saturn in general. There is no shortage of musical artists who know a fair bit about astrology, some of them being accomplished astrologers themselves.

Sun Ra

When it comes to musical space cadets, the legendary Sun Ra (born Herman Poole Blount, 22nd May 1914 – 30th May 1993)  takes some beating. The extraordinary jazz man actually claimed to be from Saturn, sent to the Earth to uplift humanity by sharing universal truths from other worlds.This view of himself as a visionary from outer space became a huge part of the Sun Ra mythology. “If you are not a myth whose reality are you? If you are not a reality whose myth are you?” “The trouble with the people on this planet is they refuse to think, they refuse to believe anything except what they know.” A good introduction to Sun Ra and his Arkestra is Greatest Hits: Easy Listening For Intergalactic Travel.

Francis Dunnery

Moving forward in time, musician-astrologer Francis Dunnery originally established himself with the eighties band It Bites and as a guitarist with singer Robert Plant. An early solo success was Too Much Saturn And Not Enough Moon, a blues tune full of appropriately dry humour for his Capricorn Sun sign.

Most people reading this article will no doubt be very familiar with the astrological meaning of “the Saturn return”, so I won’t elaborate too much on that. It is of course an easily identifiable astrological cycle that most people can relate to, regardless of whether they know much about astrology or not. Saturn returns to its original position in the birth chart around the ages of 29 and 58, corresponding to a confrontation with reality and a sometimes painful growing up process.

In 1976, at the time of his Saturn return, David Bowie (natal Moon conjunct Saturn in Leo – an interpretation of his chart here) recorded Low. Bowie later guested on the track Truth for drum’n’bass star Goldie’s 1998 album Saturnz Return. A Capricorn himself, the name of Bowie’s last album Blackstar sounds suspiciously Saturnian.

Katy Perry

In the modern pop mainstream, American singer and songwriter Katy Perry is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, two of her biggest hits having been I Kissed a Girl and Roar. She talked about her Saturn return in 2014. “I’m 28… when you’re at the end of your 20s, it’s a very important growing time. It’s called the Saturn return, if you like astrology – I know it’s important for me.” Then there was Gwen Stefani and American band No Doubt with their fourth album Return Of Saturn in 2000.

Michael Stipe, the lead singer of R.E.M. was born with Sun conjunct Saturn in Capricorn, so it’s perhaps no surprise to see a track called Saturn Return on the 2001 album Reveal. Some of the intriguing lyrics:-

Birth chart for Michael Stipe from https://astrotheme.com

“Saturn is orbiting nothing

He’s off on its own

He’s breaking from home

Saturn returns when you chased down, it slows

Throw them into a new gravity

Harder to look yourself square in the eye

Easy to poke yourself, easy as pie

Easy to take off, harder to fly

Harder to wake Galileo.”

On the face of it, Paul Weller is perhaps not someone you would expect to have anything to do with astrology but the title of his 2015 album Saturns Pattern looks like a bit of a giveaway! Even more so when you find out that he has Capricorn rising and a close Mars square Saturn aspect in his natal chart.

Nao’s second album

In a collaborative project for 4AD records, Sufjan Stevens released Planetarium in 2017, which included an electro dance track Saturn. British R&B artist Nao released her album Saturn in November 2018. Touring in 2019 with Tears For Fears is another musician-astrologer Roland Orzabal. He has made no secret of his interest in astrology, with astrological references scattered throughout his lyrics and a 1996 album titled Saturnine Martial & Lunatic (a collection of B-sides and rare tracks).

The beautiful ringed planet can be heavy stuff in astrology but will no doubt continue to inspire musicians for many Saturn returns to come.

This is an edited version of an article originally published in IAM Infinity astrology magazine https://infinityastrologicalmagazine.com/

Consultations and readings available at https://www.timburnessastrologer.co.uk

 

The murder of Stephen Lawrence – an astrological perspective

On the evening of 22nd April 1993, as he was waiting for a bus with his friend Duwayne Brooks in Eltham, South East London, 18-year-old Stephen Lawrence was murdered by a gang of white youths in an unprovoked racist attack. After an initial police investigation, five suspects were arrested but not convicted. Over the following 25 years, due to the determination of Stephen’s mother and family, layer after layer of police negligence, incompetence and corruption were uncovered.

A public inquiry into the handling of Stephen’s case was held in 1998, leading to the publication of the highly influential Macpherson report, an important moment in the modern history of British criminal justice.It made seventy recommendations to policing and wider public policy in law and education.

Following a change in the “double jeopardy” law that had prevented suspects being tried twice for the same crime, and with the help of new forensic evidence, Gary Dobson and David Norris were found guilty of the murder of Stephen Lawrence in January 2012. Further evidence of police corruption in dealing with the case has continued to emerge since.

The birth chart of Stephen Lawrence

According to Doreen Lawrence in her book “And Still I Rise” (2006), Stephen Lawrence was born at 9.30 pm on 13th September 1974 at Greenwich District Hospital. His natal chart shows Sun in Virgo, Moon in Leo, four planets in Libra and a fairly even distribution of planets in the four elements.A Venus-Neptune-Jupiter T-square in mutable signs stands out. As part of the T-square, the square between Venus and Neptune (the closest major aspect in the chart) is a potentially visionary combination, often found in the charts of artists and musicians. It indicates a challenge to express love, harmony and beauty (Venus) in a transcendent or universal (Neptune) way. The 11th house Jupiter in Pisces shows the potential for high ideals and compassionate service to society.

According to all accounts, Stephen Lawrence was a well-rounded and popular young man with everything going for him. Before his murder, he was an A level student with a wide number of interests and dreams of becoming an architect.

The chart for the murder

The original police appeal for information and witnesses states 10.39 pm as the time of the attack. A troublesome square between Pluto in late Scorpio and Saturn in Aquarius, closely aspects the Ascendant-Descendant axis. Astrologers have long associated the combination of Saturn and Pluto with dark power, intense suffering and tumultuous struggle. The connection between the Saturn-Pluto square and “institutional corruption”, together with behind the scenes police collusion with criminals (Pluto in a murky Scorpio 12th house), is not hard to make. In addition, astrologers have long associated Pluto with the power of black men and women.

Mars in Cancer and 8th house forms a trine to Pluto and the Ascendant. A criminal (8th house) gang (Cancer) of young men (Mars) murdered Stephen, using a knife (Mars). Stephen Lawrence’s natal chart also shows a natal Mars-Pluto aspect, the conjunction, a powerful and potentially explosive energy. Mars-Pluto individuals have been known to attract violence or loss of power in circumstances beyond their control, although there is usually some degree of choice as to how this is experienced.

In 1998, Doreen Lawrence founded the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust to give young people practical help in fulfilling their dreams to work in architecture and building (Mars in Cancer and 8th house). The Trust has received lottery funding and substantial donations from many sources (the murder chart’s Moon in Taurus indicates potential financial abundance as part of the unfolding story), enabling it to help many young people through bursaries, work placements and career advice.

The long-term outcome of Stephen’s murder has been an awakening of a new awareness (Uranus and Neptune both close to being stationary) for the police and establishment authorities (Capricorn), with corresponding action and legislation to remove “institutional racism” having been successful. Or maybe not. Some have argued that much progress has been illusory (Neptune), with more fundamental change still required.

Midlife transits for Doreen Lawrence

Doreen Lawrence

At the time of the murder of her son, Doreen Lawrence (born 24th October 1952, Scorpio Sun and Capricorn Moon) had just moved into experiencing an intensified version of the astrological midlife transits that everyone has at around the age of 41 or so. The conjunction of consciousness-raising Uranus and Neptune in Capricorn, exact three times during 1993, played a key role. Shocks and awakening from Uranus, together with disillusionment and an expanded vision from Neptune, meant that her life would never be the same again.

Nelson Mandela and a Jupiter-Pluto transit

Nelson Mandela with the Lawrences

Initially the murder gained little attention. However, after a press conference the Lawrence family met Nelson Mandela in London and Mandela’s supportive words were widely reported in the media. Co-incidentally, Nelson Mandela (born 18th July, 1918) was experiencing a Jupiter square transit to his own natal Pluto in Cancer at the time – nicely symbolic of a positive intervention in the name of black familial power. The very next day, three of the prime suspects were arrested. However, the Crown Prosecution Service later dropped the charges, saying the identification evidence from Duwayne Brooks was unreliable.

 

The Daily Mail and Jupiter conjunct Uranus in Aquarius

At the Coroner’s Inquest in February 1997, the five accused young men took the witness stand. Sneering and arrogant, they refused to answer any questions. Amongst many others, Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre was not impressed. By an extraordinary co-incidence, Dacre also knew Neville Lawrence (Stephen’s father) who had done some plastering work on his house.

As Jupiter and Uranus moved to an almost exact conjunction in Aquarius on the day, Dacre and the Daily Mail published the now famous headline across its Valentine’s Day front page: “MURDERERS. The Mail accuses these men of killing. If we are wrong, let them sue us.” Below the headline were photographs of Gary Dobson, Neil Acourt, Jamie Acourt, Luke Knight and David Norris. (Above the headline was an advert for astrologer Jonathan Cainer.)

For days, the story made international headlines. It was an astonishing breakthrough moment (Jupiter conjunct Uranus), bringing new hope and optimism for those seeking justice for Stephen Lawrence and for anyone with humanitarian ideals (Aquarius). The conjunction formed a trine aspect to both the 6 degrees Libran Jupiter in the murder chart and the 6 degrees Libran Pluto in Stephen Lawrence’s natal chart, with several other planets simultaneously lining up for a striking combination.

Hope from tragedy

Microscopic evidence found on the clothing belonging to the accused led to life sentences for Gary Dobson and David Norris in January 2012 – this coincided with a Saturn trine transit to the murder chart’s Saturn. Video evidence from the 1990s showed Norris talking about “skinning” black people and setting them alight.

Baroness Lawrence

Doreen Lawrence was awarded the OBE for services to community relations in 2013, and since then she has been made a life peer in the House of Lords. As transiting Saturn formed a conjunction to her Mars in Capricorn in April 2018, Baroness Lawrence commented that after 25 years, “It is time to draw a line”.

In the murder chart, the ruling planet Jupiter (faith and optimism) is in Libra (justice) and the 10th house (making a mark on the world). This forms a very close conjunction to natal Pluto (power and darkness) in the birth chart of Stephen Lawrence, a fated (Pluto) young man.

Sometimes, hope is born from tragedy.

The above is an edited version of an article originally published in the November/December 2018 issue of the Astrological Journal magazine https://www.facebook.com/AstrologicalJournal Thank you to editor Victor Olliver. This is the bimonthly publication of the Astrological Association http://www.astrologicalassociation.com dedicated to educating the public on astrology since 1958.

Consultations and readings available at https://www.timburnessastrologer.co.uk

Astrology evening classes in central Brighton – starting 29th April 2019

Beginners astrology classes at the Brighthelm Centre https://www.brighthelm.org.uk starting this Monday evening. I have run a busy astrological consultation and teaching practice at several points over the last thirty years, working with people from all walks of life. We will be exploring all the basics of modern astrology, including how to interpret your own chart!
For more details, please e-mail me tim@timburness.com or see my website at https://www.timburnessastrologer.co.uk

 

Brighton astrologer – available for consultations and readings

Tim Burness – astrologer based in Brighton, UK

Based in Brighton (UK), I have run a busy astrological consultation and teaching practice at several points over the last thirty years, working with people from all walks of life.

With or without a face-to-face consultation, a careful in-depth analysis of the birth chart can be used as a guide to help us understand our psychological patterns and life choices. In keeping with other modern Western astrologers, my approach is to help empower the individual to become more fully responsible for his or her actions – “The stars incline, they do not compel.”

For more details, please see An introduction to the astrological birth chart and my website at https://www.timburnessastrologer.co.uk or please e-mail tim@timburness.com

Paul McCartney – astrological birth chart

Thumbs aloft! Sun in Gemini, Moon in Leo

Paul McCartney returned in September 2018 in spectacular style, with his excellent album Egypt Station going straight to Number One in the Billboard chart. It was his first solo Number One album since 1982’s Tug of War. As he sings on the new album track People Want Peace, “I’m not quitting while people are crying for more.”

Born on 18th June 1942 in Liverpool, Astrodatabank‘s currently preferred 2.00pm choice of chart (below) shows a hard-working and modest Virgo Ascendant (rising sign). Whatever the exact time of birth was, most of the main features of the chart stay the same in this case. All the planets are grouped in a small area across five signs of the zodiac, showing a shape somewhere between a Bundle or a Bowl, with strong emphasis on planets in Gemini and Leo.

McCartney is in many ways a typical Gemini. Starting with The Beatles, he has continually explored new ideas and new styles with his music, from pop to rock to classical compositions. There is often an effort to be up to date with contemporary trends and, along with the Gemini twinkle in his eye, a cheeky sense of humour is never far away.

Macca’s chart from https://www.astro.com

Gemini Sun conjunct Jupiter in Cancer

The Sun is at the end of Gemini, forming a conjunction to Jupiter at the beginning of Cancer (both in 10th house if the time of birth is reasonably accurate). Macca is known worldwide for his clever and funny Gemini self and of course he is also well known for being optimistic, romantic, a family man and proud of his Liverpudlian roots – all of which link nicely to a prominent Jupiter in Cancer.

The Sun-Jupiter conjunction forms a close square with Neptune. This combination of planets occurs in the charts of many musicians and artists, as well as spiritual leaders. The Neptunian universal visionary potential was there from birth. Paul’s long-term campaigning for vegetarianism is one expression of his high ideals and compassion. One could even say that McCartney is channeling a higher power – whatever that means! At the same time, his well-publicized use of cannabis is a classic example of Neptunian escapism.

He’s made a few quid…

Venus in its own solid sign of Taurus and Jupiter exalted in Cancer are two of the best basic planetary placements for potential financial success. McCartney has of course done rather well for himself and according to the Sunday Times, he is the richest musician in the UK as of May 2018. His net worth has been estimated at $1.2 billion, according to Celebratory Net Worth.

Moon, Mars and Pluto in Leo

The Moon in Leo gives a warm, enthusiastic and dramatic personality. There is more Leo in the chart from an explosively creative close Mars-Pluto conjunction. A Leo Mars carrying the creative power (and egomania!) of the Pluto in Leo generation, combines smoothly with the inspired intelligence, adaptability and potential mastery of language and communication shown by the Gemini Saturn-Uranus conjunction. McCartney is still fond of describing himself as working class – “I work bloody hard” – and that strongly positioned Mars in Leo is a sure sign that he does.

Egypt Station arrived with a Uranus transit to his Mars in Leo

Looking at recent transits and progressions, and after having allowed for the question mark around his time of birth, one relevant transit stands out. In the couple of months before Egypt Station was released in September 2018, transiting Uranus made (or came very close to) an exact stationary square to Paul McCartney’s natal Mars in Leo.

At that time, McCartney was very busy making unexpected (Uranus) playful promotional appearances (Mars in Leo). He popped up in New York, on the internet, television, in fact just about everywhere! Using the 2pm chart (above), Uranus is transiting from his 8th house, to Mars which is the ruler of his 8th house. Not only has Egypt Station suddenly regenerated (Uranus in 8th house) his career, there are also many more 8th house themes (emotional crises, sex, even some kind of spiritual salvation) in the lyrics than is usual for Paul. The final pass of this Uranus transit is in mid to late April of 2019, so worth keeping an eye out for some more unpredictable and playful Mars in Leo action from him then.

Long live Macca!

This is an edited version of an article originally published in the Nov/Dec 2018 edition of IAM astrology magazine https://infinityastrologicalmagazine.com/

Consultations and readings available at https://www.timburnessastrologer.co.uk

2020 astrology – the end of an era and new beginnings

Astrology for 2020 – three major conjunctions

“For many reasons, 2019-20 and the years that follow will confront the world economy with reality”, astrologer Roy Gillett in ‘Economy, Ecology and Kindness’ (2009).

Thoughts from other astrologers here and here. Conjunctions occur when planets reach the same point in the sky, as seen from the Earth. Astrologically, according to the planets involved, they signify the end of one cycle and the beginning of another. It is unusual to have three conjunctions involving three of the five outer planets in the same year.

Saturn-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn, building during 2019, exact on 12th January 2020 and continuing during 2020 and beyond

At the time of writing this piece (January 2019), Saturn in Capricorn has recently moved significantly closer to Pluto for the first time, within about 8 degrees. Correspondingly, warnings of recession are being made by many experienced commentators in the world of global finance and the interconnected crises of capitalism, democracy and ecology appear to be accelerating. During April and May 2019, the conjunction will be within 3 degrees of exact, before easing off then building to January 2020.

Using the western tropical zodiac, the conjunction falls in Capricorn, hence the worlds of economics and politics and other Capricornian themes (hard reality, organization, limitation, integrity) are the focus of a profound transformation. Along with countless other astrologers, I have previously blogged about Pluto in Capricorn (2008-2024) and Saturn teaming up with Pluto in 2020 is a crucial focus of that process. As extensively researched and documented by Richard Tarnas:

“The successive alignments of the Saturn-Pluto cycle coincided with especially challenging historical periods marked by a pervasive quality of intense contraction; eras of international crisis and conflict, empowerment of reactionary forces and totalitarian impulses, organized violence and oppression, all sometimes marked by lasting traumatic effects. An atmosphere of gravity and tension tended to accompany these three to four year periods, as did a widespread sense of epochal closure; “the end of an era,” “the end of innocence,” the destruction of an earlier mode of life that in retrospect may seem to have been marked by widespread indulgence, decadence, naivite, denial, and inflation. Profound transformation was a dominant theme” Richard Tarnas, Cosmos And Psyche

The astrological charts of Donald Trump, the USA and China are all clearly impacted by Saturn-Pluto in 2020. The Cancerian Moon of the UK chart is already being hit with Brexit and other crises.

Jupiter-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn throughout 2020, exact on 4th April, 30th June and 12th November

Unlike Saturn-Pluto, the second conjunction of 2020 is potentially much more optimistic and creative, although not without a dark side. At its best, Jupiter-Pluto is all about positive healing and re-generation. It signifies upbeat new beginnings, here likely in relation to the broken Capricornian worlds of economics and politics. Many huge drives for success, improvement and achievement in the pursuit of excellence are likely to be launched at this time. Taking genuine responsibility is a key theme but a reforming zeal and obsession with power could be problematic. The old may have to be eliminated as organizations and bureaucracies dig deep into their roots, bringing hidden or secret aspects of reality to light. At its best (think Gandhi or maybe even Bill Gates, who were born with Jupiter-Pluto) this conjunction can sow the seeds for healing the world. The currently scheduled date for the next USA election is 3rd November, immediately followed by the final pass of Jupiter-Pluto.

Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in Aquarius, exact on 21st December 2020

Many western astrologers have had their eye on this one for a long time. The general historic importance of Jupiter-Saturn cycles has long been observed. Since the 1840s, all the Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions (except a few in the early 1980s) have been occurring in the Earth signs Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn. Falling in the first degree of Aquarius, an Air sign. the late 2020 conjunction marks a significant long-term shift towards fairer social attitudes. The change of conjunctions from Earth to Air indicates moves away from, for example, fossil fuels and materialism. In their place come an emphasis on new ideas, information, technology, equality for all and respecting our environment. The decentralized political structures indicated here are very different to the regeneration of corporate power indicated by Jupiter-Pluto above. Perhaps they will combine, or just simply co-exist.

Many thanks to Roy Gillett of the UK Astrological Association for fully drawing my attention to the significance of the 2020 triple conjunctions, both through his talks and his book ‘Economy, Ecology and Kindness’. Also to Julian Venables for banging on (and on!) to me about the importance of the new Jupiter-Saturn cycle a few years ago. I recommend an extraordinary book by Professor Richard Tarnas – Cosmos And Psyche. which (amongst other things) masterfully documents Saturn-Pluto correlations with countless traumatic periods throughout modern global history, ranging from the beginning of World War One to the events of 911 and many more.

I haven’t mentioned the 2020 eclipses, retrograde Mars in Aries or even Uranus in Taurus (further emphasis on radical changes in relation to global finance and ecology) – the above is a deliberately brief and general summary. We may have to wait until Pluto enters Aquarius in 2023-24 for the real revolutions.  Good luck to all – I think we need it!

Consultations and readings available at https://www.timburnessastrologer.co.uk

Drake – astrological birth chart

At the end of June 2018, Canadian hip-hop rapper Drake (Aubrey Drake Graham) released his massively successful fifth album Scorpion, which would appear to have been named after his astrological sign of the zodiac.

Strong Scorpio emphasis and Mars square Pluto

Looking at his natal horoscope chart (born 2.31 am, 24th October 1986, Toronto in Canada), Drake has his Sun, Mercury and Venus in the sign of Scorpio. Perhaps more importantly, there is a also a Sun-Pluto conjunction in Scorpio, with the Scorpio Pluto forming a close square (always very important in a birth chart) to Mars in Aquarius. This is an explosive and mighty powerful combination which needs to be very carefully channelled. An independent, progressive and humanitarian (Aquarius) power is being unleashed on the world!

The dark, often hidden side of Scorpio can get very murky, with the rights and wrongs of the use of power needing attention. Anyone born with such a Scorpio emphasis is very likely to have to work their way through more darkness than most. As far back as being bullied at school, Drake has had many confrontational exchanges and clashes with others – ongoing feuds, legal disputes and relationship issues (Venus in Scorpio) which form the basis of many of his lyrics. At the same time, there is a determined and strong Scorpionic sense of purpose, with the potential for healing both himself and others.

Drake’s chart from http://www.astro.com

Early years

Drake was born to a mixed-race couple in Canada in 1986, and raised Jewish in a middle-class family. He initially became famous in Canada by playing wheelchair-bound Jimmy Brooks in seven seasons of the popular teen soap Degrassi: The Next Generation. It wasn’t until a personal crisis in 2008 that his musical career truly began to take off. At the time, Pluto formed a transit to his Scorpio Sun (he was written out of the soap opera, to be re-born as a hip hop artist), Saturn had just crossed into his 1st house (marking the beginning of a new 29 year cycle of personal responsibility) and Uranus squared natal Uranus (that age 21 transit, time to break free from childhood). In 2009, Drake signed a record deal with Lil Wayne’s Young Money Entertainment and began his rise to the top.

Leo rising and a Grand Trine in Water 

With creative and dramatic Leo rising, Drake’s Scorpio planets are in the 3rd house of communication. This fits very nicely with his intense, emotionally-driven rapping style. Drake has the confidence and arrogance of other hip hop artists (such as Jay Z and Kanye West, whose influence he has acknowledged) but as one might expect from a typical Scorpio with so much Water in the chart, Drake’s words and language are also a genuine expression of deeper soul-searching.

Drake’s nurturing Moon in Cancer (the handle of a Bucket shaped chart, similar to Taylor Swift’s as it happens) has easy flowing aspects to super-imaginative Jupiter in Pisces and intense Venus in Scorpio – a Grand Trine in Water signs. This says much about the sensitivity that sets him apart from the majority of hip hop artists, also helping Drake achieve mass popularity with the public. Not many hip hop artists would call an album Take Care, the title of his second album.

2017-2019 transits for Drake – the magic of Neptune, Uranus and others

Drake’s universal appeal has recently been helped by transiting Neptune forming a conjunction to natal Jupiter in Pisces and 7th house, together with easy aspects to his Moon (2017 to early 2018) and soon to come Venus (2019). This comment from him sums up the Neptune experience well: “The whole thing is unusual at this point, so we’re just rolling with the fairytale vibe”. Expansive Jupiter has also been moving through Scorpio, a positive boost that occurs for each sign of the zodiac every twelve years. Uranus, the great awakener, had just passed its first opposition transit to Drake’s Sun when Scorpion was released on 29th June. Worth keeping an eye on Drake for the final stage of his Uranus opposite Sun transit in March 2019 (as Uranus fully enters Taurus) – more powerful Scorpionic excitement indicated!

Scorpion broke several streaming records and Drake became the first artist to top one billion global streams in the first week of a studio album release. With Saturn still moving up through the bottom half of his chart, Drake has many years to go until he reaches the peak of his career. Despite what some critics say, it looks like he is only just beginning. Never underestimate the power of a Scorpio to be continually re-born, rising from the ashes, again and again.

This is an edited and extended version of an article originally published in the July 2018 edition of I AM astrology magazine https://infinityastrologicalmagazine.com/

Consultations and readings available at https://www.timburnessastrologer.co.uk