Sunday, December 07, 2008

John Lennon

Tomorrow, 8 December, marks the 28th anniversary of the shooting of John Lennon. My husband's son-in-law, Jeff, is probably the most ardent Lennon fan I've ever met, he's also a journalist. Jeff has written a column about Lennon for two local newspapers this weekend, he is editor in chief of one of them. With his permission I'm using some brief excerpts from his column to illustrate my own, astrological, thoughts on John Lennon.

Jeff's article begins with the thought that the news of Lennon's murder is one of those
"shared dots on the timeline that make such impact we never forget where we were or what we were doing when they occur".
I know those moments well, but sadly John Lennon's death didn't etch itself on my mind in the same way that JFK's murder, or 9/11 did. I wasn't a great fan of the Beatles back then. The only memory I can dredge up, regarding the report of that tragic event, is of wondering why the heck he was in New York, anyway. "He's English - he should be here", I probably grumbled at the TV.

Numerous astrologers have already pondered John Lennon's natal chart, as well as the chart for his time of death. There's not much left for me to add, but Jeff touched on his view of Lennon's personality, and it strikes me that nobody in the past will have written about Lennon in exactly that way, nobody in the past will have commented on his chart in my own peculiar style. So.....

John was born in Liverpool (of course) on 9 October 1940 at, according to his aunt, around 6.30pm. Time of birth is a little foggy, but his aunt said he was born during an air raid, and history records an air raid on Liverpool in the evening of that date, so the alternative times of a morning birth, offered by several writers, are likely inaccurate.

"Lennon was not — and is not — everybody’s cup of Earl Gray. If you believe the hype surrounding The Beatles, Paul was cute, Ringo was funny and George was cerebral. John was the thinker and renegade, who was too edgy for some. He never seemed comfortable in the squeaky-clean, teen idol image Brian Epstein created to sell The Beatles in the early 1960s. There was something rebellious in Lennon’s eyes and slightly smirky grin that was more Marlon Brando and James Dean than Ricky Nelson or Bobby Vee.

John was the first of the Fab Four to break from the script and say what he really thought — and some of his thoughts didn’t sit well on the ears of the establishment of that era.

There’s no doubt Lennon was complex. That was especially true when he was a young man, who could be both gracious and witty, as well as boorish and brooding. That duality was unappealing to some, fascinating to others."

I'm looking for "edgy", "rebellious", "renegade", "complex", "duality - gracious and witty/boorish & brooding".

Edgy, rebellious and renegade: easy. Moon in rebellious Aquarius (3*), trining aggressive Mars in Libra (2*) opposed by intense Pluto in Leo (4*), quincunx a loving Venus in Virgo(3*). That's a lot of scratchiness and belligerent rebellion, hooked up in a net of uncomfortable aspects !

Taking a long view of his chart, Moon in Aquarius stands out, alone in one area the chart, and in House 11, which is Aquarius' own House - the rebellious sign is thus further emphasised.

Yes, John could be gracious too, courtesy of his charming and tactful Libra Sun, powerful for it lay on the descendant angle. Mercury, communication planet, in biting Scorpio, though, was liable to spoil his grace at any moment. His ascendant in impulsive, potentially aggressive Aries added to the public perception of him as something of a loose cannon.

John's musical talent lay in the Taurus planets (Taurus is ruled by Venus, planet of the arts). Here in Taurus, astrologers usually point out the unusual conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter, something which happens only once in a decade. With Uranus in the same sign, there's a lot of emphasis here - as well there should be. An eery coincidence is that Jupiter and Saturn formed the same conjunction on the day Lennon died, 40 years later. Another spooky coincidence is that Uranus at 25 Taurus lies conjunct Fixed Star Algol, which had the reputation among ancient astrologers as being "the most malefic star in the skies".

John has the Earth trine that most War Babies (like him and I) have in our charts. His formation links Uranus and Neptune with the Moon, which though not in Earth, is within limits to form a Grand Trine. In this case there's an extra bit of Airy spice in the Earthy mix from Moon in early Aquarius. John, although a rebel, did keep his feet firmly on the ground. He concerned himself with practical matters, worried about war and injustice - this was his version of Earthiness.
"Lennon often used himself as an example of the worst in human nature. It wasn’t always pretty. Cold Turkey and Steel and Glass were raw self-ridicule. On a tune like How Do You Sleep?, a vicious slap at Paul McCartney, we realized John could be arrogant and petty."

There's a Grand Cross in John's chart: four planets 90* from each other forming square aspects, with two oppositions. This represents a character in constant state of tension and challenge. I've seen this configuration in charts of other edgy folk like Bill Maher and Keith Olbermann. In John's chart the planets involved are Moon/Mercury/Pluto and the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction.

"Still, Lennon also became firmly committed to a vision that went beyond himself and included us all, which manifested itself in Imagine. It’s an anthem that in simple, direct phrases crystallizes what I believe is the ultimate goal of the human experience.
As the ’70s faded into the ’80s, the album Watching the Wheels gave us a view of Lennon finally at ease with himself.
What I found most admirable about Lennon was that he evolved; that he grew as a husband, a father, a friend, a man, a human being. He wasn’t content to be the same John at 40 that he’d been at 20, and the world needs such people."

My own view of this is that his Aquarius Moon and Libra Sun, both strong in his chart due to their repsective positions, came to the fore in his maturity, to overcome any negative traits of his youth.
Jeff writes
"The evening of Dec. 8, 1980 became an out-of-body experience. I ended up driving to a bluff overlooking the Wabash River, a place I often went to seek solace and ponder what I couldn’t understand. With John Lennon lying dead on a New York street, I needed solace and pondering.
I stayed there until sunrise, listening to a tape of John’s music, trying to wrap my mind around the idea that this man, who represented individual growth and human goodness, was dead at age 40."
We'll never know whether John Lennon's death was fated or inevitable. I do find it spooky that his murder occurred when Jupiter and Saturn formed that once in a decade conjunction which was in the sky at his birth.

Nowadays, I fully appreciate John's worth both in music and in his dedication to the cause of peace in the world.

Here's one of John's songs I've never heard before "Crippled Inside", giving a rare(for him) nod to toe-tapping country music rhythms, but still with his trademark message.


Loudon WainwrightIII sings his tribute, "NOT JOHN"


Jeff said...

I'm always honored (and somewhat surprised) when anyone wants to reprint my ramblings. Pleased you found something worthwhile in them ... and thanks.
I also enjoyed your piece and found the astrological information on Lennon quite interesting.

Twilight said...

Jeff ~~ I always find something worthwhile in your writings - except when you write about sport (which is my completely blind spot in life). I wish your pieces were all on line so that I could link to them often, but I guess that would go against the grain of "proper" newspapering. ;-)

Coincidentally, when I wasn't looking for it this week, I pulled out a box of the husband's old VCR tapes and saw one marked "Lennon".
It turned out to be some rather ropey recordings of interviews. with John. The best is one with Tom Snyder (who to my mind seemed a little "slow", though very nice).

The husband thinks the tape must have been one of his "trades" back in the days he did such things.

In that interview, about 5 years before his death, John was charming, interesting and diplomatic - very Libra! I liked him. You probably know that interview well.

anyjazz said...

It's a good blog and timely. Watching those old interviews the other night reminded me what a giant Lennon really was. All by himself. His association with McCartney sparked the both of them, but each had their own greatness and demons to deal with. In the field of music, there are few that stand out like Lennon does.

Lennon wrote prose as well as musical poetry. He dabbled in graphic art and got involved with performance art. He acted in a movie and produced one of the most memorable music videos ever: “Imagine”. Had he lived longer his status might have grown to “renaissance man” level like Steve Allen or Jackie Gleason.

His work is lapping on the shores of another generation now. He won’t be forgotten soon. Maybe never.

Twilight said...

anyjazz ~~~ Thanks. Yes, it's fascinating to surmise how Lennon would have developed, had he lived.
Making movies, with a message, producing, directing perhaps?
He'd have blown a fuse watching Bush and Co's antics, that's for sure !

I don't think he'll ever be forgotten - in the same way that Sinatra will live on - so will Lennon.

jeff said...

Yes, I've got a copy of the Tom Snyder interview somewhere among the VCRs - remember, VCRs?
The husband, as so often, is absolutely right about Lennon's potential as a renaissance man. His creativity outside music is often forgotten or not realized.
I miss him, but we still have him ... know what I mean?!

Twilight said...

Yes, indeed, Jeff!