Monday, September 01, 2008

Judy Collins

I'd forgotten all about Judy Collins, but was reminded while searching for a video to use in my previous post. What a beautiful voice - described by one writer as "liquid silver".

Judy has been steeped in music from her early teenage years, thought of by some as a child prodigy. Daughter of a musician, she started out as a classical pianist:

"At 13, Judy made her public debut performing Mozart’s “Concerto for Two Pianos.” But the music of such artists as Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, and the traditional songs ofthe folk revival, sparked Judy’s love of lyrics and, by 16, she had moved from playing the Steinway to playing guitar."

It could be said that "the rest is history".

"The music of...... the early sixties folk revival generated her intense interest in folk music and emphasized the importance of lyrics. As a folk artist in her own right, she recorded songs by Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Phil Ochs, John Lennon, and Randy Newman. Collins’ musical endeavors have ranged from folk to pop-rock to standards to Broadway ballads."

Her love of folk music must have served as inspiration for her social awareness and activism.

"She participated in the 1964 Freedom Marches in Mississippi and was a political activist during the Viet Nam War. In song, she protested against a war she saw thought unjust (Dylan’s “Masters of War”) and she honored those that fought as in her ode to Korean War veterans (”Walls”). Collins always poignantly portrays her cause."

"She has been a representative for UNICEF since 1994 and promotes landmine awareness. She wrote “Song for Sarajevo.” Subsequently, she made goodwill treks to Bosnia and Vietnam."

In her autobiography Judy told of being struck down by polio at age 10, a bout of tuberculosis, and losing a battle for custody of her son. Many years later she had to live through the devastating experience of losing her son, 33, to suicide in January 1992. She has struggled with substance abuse, bulimia and depression, has written several books documenting her challenges, sharing the wisdom she gained. This is a multi-talented, brave and compassionate lady!

She was born on 1 May 1939, Seattle (or Seattle Heights) Washington State, at, according to one source on-line, 11.55 am. That time may or may not be reliable, but I've used it for this chart - which shows Leo rising, appropriate for her career in the spotlight.

Sun in Taurus, the sign ruled by Venus - planet of the arts, including music. If birth time is fairly accurate natal Sun is close to the mid-heaven angle, a very strong point in the chart, and relates especially to public standing and professional matters. Uranus lies just 7 degrees away, also in Taurus, within orb to be considered conjoined to her natal Sun. So here is her social awareness and activism - such traits are often associated with Aquarius. She has no Aquarius planets, but because Uranus rules Aquarius and is so close to her natal Sun, the effect is similar to having an Aquarian Sun - even more intense, I suspect.

To keep this reasonably brief I'm going to concentrate on how her natal planets connect with each other.

There's a a Grand Trine in Earth harmoniously linking Uranus, Neptune and Mars. I'd say that this Earthy link-up has helped her to weather her various storms, and provided a rock solid psychological base.

There are some less helpful patterns in her chart also, at least one Grand Cross, perhaps two.

"The Grand Cross consists of four or more planets spread at intervals of approximately 90°. Thus, a cross or two oppositions is formed in the chart. This configuration generally indicates a person living under continuous stress and facing a seemingly never ending series of challenges. Likewise, the Grand Cross is also representative of the individual is never able to rest until his purpose is actualized. This aspect places your life in a constant state of tension and upheaval."
See here .

The tightest Grand Cross links Saturn/Mars/Moon/Pluto by square aspect (90*) and includes two oppositions - Mars/Pluto and Moon/Saturn. The planets involved, other than Moon are known as being challenging individually, so you can imagine them acting in concert! The Moon involved with these planets indicates that emotional issues play a prominent part in on-going challenges. This configuration corresponds with her life pattern of stress and difficuties.

I was spoilt for choice as to which video of Judy Collins to post. In the end I opted for an informal version of "Turn, Turn, Turn", written by Pete Seeger.

Information gleaned from: Interview about her son's suicide


Wisewebwoman said...

I heard her live at a small benefit a few years ago and she was still in amazing voice. Some a capello.
Very interesting woman and full of charm and grace and incredible pipes.

anthonynorth said...

An amazing lady - truth that wisdom, and real talent, comes from adversity.

Twilight said...

WWW and AN - Hi!
She's proof that a person can be fragile and strong at the same time, isn't she?

It'd be interesting to know what she thinks of present day politics in the USA!

R J Adams said...

I have her "Send in the Clowns" CD somewhere at the back of my cabinet. For me, that 60's folk era was an incredible time. I think there are distinct similarities between Judy Collins's voice and that of the sadly short-lived Eva Cassidy.

Twilight said...

Hi RJ - Yes, I hadn't made that connection, but I agree - especially in Judy's early recordings, there is a similarity to Eva.

My husband has a pile of Judy's LPs - lovely stuff from an amazing era.