By Frank Clifford | July 14, 2014
About a year ago, I wrote a Horoscope Detective column for TMA (Feb/Mar 2013) on Planetary Types. The gist was that it’s all well and good to make a direct correspondence in astrology (X planet or sign “rules” music, or Y “rules” the law) if we consider these as umbrella terms that link a planet to a field of work or the temperament that ideally suits that work. But all planets (and signs) are represented in every profession; areas of life are too broad to assign to one planet only, and there are people of “planetary types” in every area of life.
I would argue that it’s more important why we do something (for a living, for instance) than what we actually do, because the horoscope shows our motivations, passions, and personal qualities that shine through whatever work or life situation we pursue. Put another way, some astrologers are from Venus, some from Saturn, some from Jupiter, and so on. There is variance in every profession (the Gauquelins understood this when moving from statistical results linking planets to professional eminence to their later studies of keyword traits). Birth charts of those in any field are as varied as the motives, styles, and skills of their owners.
In the recent Music Issue of TMA, I wrote about the charts of 15 vocalists — each a unique song stylist — providing snapshots into some themes of their horoscopes and key aspects of their lives and work. In my research into what represents the voice, I found that Mercury and the Moon spoke most directly about a vocalist’s delivery and interpretation:
“Where is the “voice” in the chart? The first stop is Mercury (its sign position and aspects), which reveals how we compose and arrange both words and sounds. But really, the whole chart — in particular, its major aspects and the Sun, Moon, and Ascendant signs — reveals the vocal style, interpretive qualities, and “personality” of a singer.
If Mercury links to a singer’s physical, technical voice and left-brain analytic functions, the Moon (right brain) reveals how a singer interprets the lyrics and phrases a song. Both planets have specific “connect and communicate” roles, but the Moon conveys a mood to the audience. (“Iconic Vocalists of the 20th Century, Their Music, Their Lives, Their Charts,” TMA, April/May 2014)”
Later I received an email from someone, incredulous that I’d not spoken about Venus. How could I have left it out? Did I not know the links to Taurus and the throat?!
Venus appears to be strong in the charts of manufactured pop stars and MOR (middle of the road) entertainers, and it speaks of “harmony” and “popularity,” but does it say much about the type of singing voice we have? I try to keep an open mind about astrological factors — otherwise, what we expect to see is what we then find in a chart. I research from the outside-in: I like to discover as much as I can about the life and character of a public figure (in this case, their vocal style and interpretation, their musical interests and vocal qualities) and then look for these things in the horoscope.
By approaching research in this way, I’ve found that I’ve broadened my understanding of the nature of the planets and signs. We learn more when we study people who share a set of traits (or life experiences) and then look for common astrological links. And it stops us from simply thinking, for instance, that Mercury (or Jupiter or Uranus, etc.) equals astrology and astrologers, and then making a judgement about its position in charts (and its owner!) accordingly. As we learn (and keep learning), I think we must often resist the need to apply our preconceptions of “what constitutes X” to then rubber-stamp a chart. A narrow frame of reference will only result in narrow interpretations.
In my experience, pinpointing the key players in a chart can help us identify so much about a person’s motivations, choices, needs, lifestyle, and experiences. And key players appear to be planets that are: positioned around the angles; in aspect to (or ruling/dispositing) many other horoscope points (or unaspected); or singled out by being the handle of a chart shape or the apex of a T-square. When researching vocalists, Mercury and the Moon kept describing their vocal style and delivery, and Venus didn’t appear to be a major player in the charts of the hundreds of songbirds I examined.
So, how do YOU think Venus is related to music — not just by association but in actual charts and lives? I’ve posted six of the charts from my Music Issue article and invite you to add your own observations and research about their voices, musical styles, and charts. Please feel welcome to use any planet/sign/house in the chart — not just Venus — and to present other vocalists charts, too.
Data and Sources included with all charts. Charts: Tropical, Placidus, Mean Node
Frank Sinatra, December 12, 1915; 3:00 a.m. EST; Hoboken, NJ, USA (40°N45’, 74°W02’); A: Lynne Palmer quotes Sinatra’s father.
Nina Simone, February 21, 1933; 6:00 a.m. EST; Tryon, NC, USA (35°N12’, 82°W14’); AA: from birth certificate, as quoted in The Gauquelin Book of American Charts.
Roy Orbison, April 23, 1936; 3:50 p.m. CST; Vernon, TX, USA (34°N09’, 99°W16’); AA: note from birth registry obtained by Edwin Steinbrecher; FCC has a copy on file.
Aretha Franklin, March 25 1942; 10:30 p.m. CWT; Memphis, TN, USA (35°N09’, 90°W03’); AA: from birth certificate obtained by Edwin Steinbrecher; FCC has a copy on file.
Bono (Paul David Hewson), May 10, 1960; 2:00 a.m. GDT; Dublin, Ireland (53°N20’, 06°W15’); A: Edwin Steinbrecher quotes a mutual friend, from Bono, “two on the dot.”
Janis Joplin, January 19, 1943; 9:45 a.m. CWT; Port Arthur, TX, USA (29°N54’, 93°W56’); AA: from birth certificate (Janis Lyn Joplin) obtained by FCC, copy on file.
Bio: Frank Clifford writes the Horoscope Detective column in The Mountain Astrologer and recently acted as Guest Editor for its Interpretation issue (June-July 2013) and The Music Issue (April-May 2014). Frank’s dozen books include Getting to the Heart of Your Chart (on chart synthesis and interpretation). A data collector and researcher, he compiled the Clifford Data Compendium for Solar Fire in 1997. His websites are FlareUk.com and London School of Astrology