Monday, September 21, 2015

Music Monday ~ A Birthday

Happy Birthday to Leonard Cohen! Here's what I wrote back in 2011:

I've once or twice approached the natal chart of Leonard Cohen but was wary of featuring it in a blog post. I enjoy many of his songs, though preferably sung by others: Bird On a Wire, Hallelujah, Suzanne, Dance Me To the End of Love to name a few. The man himself, though, strikes me as being a wee bit "out there", farther out than I care to go!

When I first saw Cohen's chart I was surprised to note that he has no planets in Scorpio. The "feel" of nearly all his songs is most definitely Scorpio, for me. Death features often, as does gloomy self-obsessed melancholia.

So....where's the gloom ? Could it be that through emphasis on perfection-loving Virgo in his chart (data from Astrodatabank): Sun, Venus (the arts) and Neptune (creativity), he seeks a perfection that simply doesn't exist in this insane world, and his unsuccessful search tips him into gloom and despondency? Pluto, planet of death and darkness, in Cancer, lies in sextile to his Sun - perhaps that's an additional source of the dark feeling in his works. Moon in Pisces (ruled by Neptune) contributes that rather otherworldly flavour found often in Cohen's songs.

Wonderful, wonderful songs - it could be said that his vocals leave a bit to be desired, but as with Dylan and Kristofferson, the authentic version is definitive, but others can polish and shine the superb lyrics.


mike said...

I like his lyrics, but not so much the voice, and his voice is unmistakable and easily recognizable. For me, his voice is well-suited for his poetry recitals, and his musical lyrics are best sang by others. His song, "Hallelujah", is definitely one of my favorites and I actually like his vocals, which has similarity to Lou Reed's vocal intonation. I intended to read his novel, "Beautiful Losers", but it's still on my to-do list.

His Mercury in Libra and Venus in Virgo are in mutual reception, and are final dispositors to his planets, except for Saturn in Aquarius. He was a prolific writer, speaker, and vocalist (Mercury) and he has a rather sordid, cold, dour take on desire and the feminine (Venus), further enhanced with cool, detached Saturn. The Sun-Pluto sextile you discuss is part of a yod with Saturn, adding additional melancholy. Another loose yod with Sun-Saturn-Uranus. Jupiter is part of a T-square with Uranus and Pluto, and trines Saturn, with Saturn inconjunct Pluto. Lots of tension, angst, and personal conflict that he expresses beautifully through his poetry, writing, singing, and excellent use of these energies!

I found his Wiki entry interesting regarding his religious belief(s): he considers himself Jewish and honors the Sabbath, yet practices Zen, and studies Buddhism and often retreats to a monastery.

LB said...

Twilight ~ I'm a big fan of the music Leonard has made as he's gotten older (past 20-25 years or so); something about it always sooths my soul. His words and music have a way of inviting me in without grabbing at me, and I love the women's voices who accompany him. Some of his lyrics are amazing. He's very poetic & soulful!

Leonard and I share quite a few astrological connections, ~ almost everything in his chart aspects something in mine and several are exact conjunctions, so it figures.

mike ~ Your comment pointed out something I'm not sure I noticed before, which is that lovely Mercury in Libra/Venus in Virgo mutual reception in Leonard's chart. My husband has it too.

Twilight said...

mike and LB ~ Thanks for your thoughts and additional astrology pointers. :-)

It's hard to pick a favourite song of his, they're all so good - I think maybe "Bird on a Wire" has to be #1 for me, sung by just about anyone. "I have tried in my way to be free" - sounds like Aquarius Sun's motto to me!

Like a bird on the wire
Like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free

Like a worm on a hook
Like a knight from some old-fashioned book
I have saved all my ribbons for thee
If I, if I have been unkind
I hope that you can just let it go by
If I, if I have been untrue
I hope you know it was never to you

For like a baby, stillborn
Like a beast with his horn
I have torn everyone who reached out for me
But I swear by this song
And by all that I have done wrong
I will make it all up to thee

I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch
He said to me, "you must not ask for so much"
And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door
She cried to me, "hey, why not ask for more?"
Oh, like a bird on the wire
Like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free."

Anonymous said...

Virgo planets can be a bit cynical at times, and the exact Venus-Neptune conjunction in that sign obviously indicates his prolific musical talent. However, that is not really enough to describe his type of melancholy music. So perhaps it is the Chiron square to his Venus and Neptune conjunction that he is writing and communicating about (Chiron in Gemini). Perhaps he has experienced a lot of wounding in his personal life, and that has trickled, or maybe overflowed, into his music.

Twilight said...

Anonymous ~ Yes, that Venus/Neptune is a very tight conjunction - and surely plays a major part in his personality and talent. Though both planets are creative, one is critical and perfection seeking, the other somewhat laissez-faire - inner battles must be fairly constant, at least I'd say they would have been in his youth, more than in maturity. Good point on Chiron - thank you! :-)