In this part . . .
I n this part, I tell you the traditional markers associated with ten different talents. I also show you how to use astrology as a guide to making important decisions in life, such as when to buy a computer, when to get married, and when to simply take it easy for a while. May you discover within these pages one of the great gifts of astrology: some- thing fabulous about yourself and your potential that you didn’t know.
In This Chapter
Recognizing special talents in a birth chart
Seeing astrology in action
Where do extraordinary qualities come from? What goes into the chart of a world-class beauty, a groundbreaking artist, a celebrity, or a billionaire? These people obviously have something special . . . and maybe you do too. In the following sections, I reveal the astrological secrets behind great gifts.
Every sign has its complement of artists. But the all-time greats — geniuses like Leonardo da Vinci and Pablo Picasso — belong to a category all their own. Here are some indicators of artistic talent:
By sign: Taurus, Libra, and Leo sustain artistic talent. Look for the Sun, Moon, Ascendant, Midheaven, or Venus in those signs.
By planet: A prominent Venus and Neptune quicken the aesthetic sense and the imagination.
By house: An active fifth house accentuates your need to be creative.
A planet is prominent when it’s within 8° of your Ascendant or Midheaven; when it occupies an angle (that is, it’s in the first, fourth, seventh, or tenth house of your chart); or when it makes close aspects to other planets.
A house is active either when it holds one or more planets or when its ruler is in a prominent position.
Consider the chart of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo (see Figure 19-1). During her lifetime, she wasn’t as famous as her muralist husband, Diego Rivera. In recent years, her anguished, colorful canvases have attracted many admirers, and her fame has skyrocketed. Here’s how her chart stacks up to the factors described earlier in this section:
By sign: Two of the three signs on the list are central in Kahlo’s chart. Taurus holds the Moon and the Midheaven, while Leo is the home of her Ascendant and her Mercury. Only Libra is vacant.
By planet: Both Venus and Neptune are prominent in her chart. Venus rules her Midheaven, conjuncts Pluto, and sextiles her Ascendant. Neptune is closely conjunct her Sun.
By house: Two planets — Uranus, the planet of originality, and Mars — inhabit the fifth house (along with the South Node). Also, the ruler of the fifth house, Jupiter, is conjunct her Sun in the sign of its exaltation, making it exceptionally well-placed.
Frida Kahlo struggled with heart-rending difficulties during her short life, but lack of artistic talent was not among them.
Figure 19-1: Frida Kahlo’s birth chart.
Mighty Mars, the planet of aggression, figures strongly in the charts of athletes, who are statistically more likely than nonathletes to have Mars within striking distance of either the Midheaven or the Ascendant. (The specific areas near the Midheaven are the ninth house and first ten degrees of the tenth. The sensitive areas near the Ascendant are the twelfth house and the first ten degrees of the first house.) You see these positions in the charts of Muhammad Ali and Tiger Woods, both Capricorns. Ali has a tenacious Mars in Taurus conjunct the Midheaven. Tiger has a similar setup, with an impatient Mars in Gemini conjunct his Midheaven.
Mars can also be prominent for other reasons. For instance, I don’t know whether Lance Armstrong has an angular Mars. Angularity depends on birth time, and I don’t have that information about him. I do know this: His Mars in Aquarius aspects all but one of his other planets, making it very active indeed.
Mars can also dominate a chart in the opposite situation: When it makes no aspects whatsoever. Such a solitary planet, unhampered by other planets with competing agendas, operates without interference and can consequently be the strongest influence in a chart.
I don’t want to suggest that Mars is the only planet that affects athletic ability. A well-placed Sun gives vitality. Mercury lends quickness. Jupiter, Uranus, and Pluto confer power. Athleticism, like other talents, is an amalgamation of many factors.
Finally, although gifted athletes are born under every sign of the zodiac, fire and earth signs are slightly more common among them than air and water. Athletes, like artists, benefit from a touch of Leo — not because it advances athletic ability (Leos, I have noticed, can be amazingly klutzy) but because it stimulates the love of performance. And that is definitely part of the game.
Beauty (Or the Power of Attraction)
If Mars promotes athletic ability, Venus amplifies beauty, particularly when it is
Conjunct the Ascendant, the Sun, the Moon, the Midheaven, or the ruler of the Ascendant.
In the first or tenth house.
In Taurus or Libra, the signs it rules.
Brooke Shields, for instance, was a recognized beauty even as an infant, when her modeling career began. Her Venus sits at the top of her chart, conjoining her Midheaven. Angelina Jolie, whose very name advertises her prettiness, has Venus closely conjunct her Ascendant.
Not everyone with a prominent Venus boasts a gorgeous face. What they do have is even more valuable: the power of attraction. An example is former President Bill Clinton. He’s a Leo (of course) with Venus in the first house in sociable Libra, the sign it rules. His Venus makes four conjunctions and two sextiles. So he easily attracts admirers. Hillary Rodham Clinton, on the other hand, has Venus in Scorpio, the sign of its detriment. With Venus conjunct her ruling planet (Mercury), she can be charming. But her Venus squares Saturn, Pluto, and Mars and makes an irritating (135°) angle to the Moon and Ascendant. Not surprisingly, as a public personality, she has to work harder to make her case.
Known for his silk-screened portraits and provocative paintings of Campbell’s soup cans (and electric chairs), Andy Warhol is also remembered for his prescient statement, “In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.” Well, that was easy for him to say. He had all the ingredients that celebrity appeal requires (see Figure 19-2):
Planets conjunct the Midheaven and/or in the tenth house
Planets conjunct the Ascendant and/or in the first house
A touch of Leo
Figure 19-2: Andy Warhol’s birth chart. He got his 15 minutes and more.
Specifically, he had Jupiter (and Chiron) conjunct the Midheaven, Mars in the tenth house, the Sun closely conjunct the Ascendant, and two planets — Venus and Neptune, the planets of art — in the first house. Plus, he had four planets and the Ascendant in Leo. Fame was his birthright.
Why is Paris Hilton a celebrity? I don’t think it’s that sex video (not that I’ve seen it). Nor is it her wealth (although her second house of money is loaded). It’s something else: She has the astrological fingerprint for fame (see Figure 19-3). Planets conjunct the Midheaven? She’s got two of them, including Jupiter, her ruling planet. Plus, Pluto is in the tenth house. Planets conjunct the Ascendant? Glamorous Neptune is right there. And, sure enough, she’s got some Leo going on: the Moon and the North Node in the eighth house of sex and other people’s money. Her fame is no accident.
Figure 19-3: Paris Hilton’s birth chart.
Doctors, nurses, acupuncturists, kind-hearted dentists, and others with the desire to heal share certain astrological characteristics:
By sign: Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces, the water signs, promote empathy. Virgo encourages an intellectual curiosity about health and healing techniques. Aquarius heightens humanitarian concern.
By planet: Research has shown that doctors often have Saturn conjunct or opposite the Ascendant or Midheaven. Pluto, the planet of transformation, and Mars also figure heavily in the charts of healers.
By house: The most crucial placements related to health are the sixth house of health and service; the eighth house of surgery, research, death, and rebirth; and the twelfth house of secrets and hospitals.
A house is powerful if it holds one or more planets, but even an empty house can be vital. If the ruler of that house is conjunct the Sun, Moon, Ascendant, or Midheaven, the matters of that house gain importance.
How are Fortune 500 CEOs different from you and me (other than the fact that they fly around in private jets)? Here’s how to spot executive ability:
By sign: Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn are the preeminent signs of business. Equally important is Scorpio, the sign of power politics, covert operations, and self-control. In business, as in other areas, you can also expect to see a little Leo. That’s because Leos long to be on top, and they’ll happily put in hours — make that years — of overtime to achieve that noble goal.
By planet: Saturn, well-situated by sign, house, and aspect, grants organizational ability; Mercury provides skill in communication; and Mars fuels the competitive drive.
By house: Look for planets in the tenth house of reputation, the sixth house of work, the second house of money, and the eighth house of investment. Those houses support executive ability. Also, planets in the first house can bestow considerable charisma, which is often the defining trait of a successful CEO.
Jack Welch, chairman and CEO of General Electric for 20 years, shows many of these traits (see Figure 19-4):
By sign: With planets in all three earth signs, a Capricorn Ascendant, and the Sun in Scorpio, Welch shows clear organizational ability.
By planet: Saturn rules his Ascendant and is therefore his ruling planet. Mercury is conjunct his Midheaven. But his most notable planet is his commanding, ambitious Mars. It’s angular (in the first house), closely conjunct his Ascendant, well-aspected, and in the sign of its exaltation, all of which makes him exceptionally competitive and aggressive.
By house: His Sun is in the tenth house of career and public life and is conjunct expansive Jupiter, which is another mark of leadership ability. His Moon is in the eighth house of investments, along with two other planets, and his ruler, Saturn, is in the second house of money.
Say what you will about the corporate world, that’s where Jack Welch belongs.
Figure 19-4: Jack Welch’s birth chart.
These are the traditional markers that point to the ability to amass money and material goods, whether through your own efforts or through sheer good luck:
Planets in the second and eighth houses.
Powerful, well-aspected planets ruling the second and eighth houses.
A well-placed Jupiter. If you’re lucky, it will connect with the second and eighth houses.
A glance at Jack Welch’s chart (Figure 19-4) shows just what you might expect: He has four planets in the second and eighth houses, including Saturn, the ruler of his Ascendant. The ruler of his second house, Neptune, is conjunct the Moon in the eighth house. The ruler of his eighth house, Mercury, is conjunct the Midheaven. As for Jupiter, it’s powerful by sign (because it’s in Sagittarius, the sign it rules); by house (because it’s in the tenth house of reputation); and by aspect (because it’s conjunct his Sun).
Whether you call it extrasensory perception, clairvoyance, a sixth sense, or plain old intuition, psychic ability isn’t as rare as you might think. Here’s how to find it:
By sign: Pisces, Scorpio, and Cancer bolster psychic ability. Sagittarius can also foster a tendency in that direction.
By planet: Neptune and the Moon keep the channels of reception open (especially when they’re conjunct). A prominent Uranus can bring flashes of insight and understanding. Pluto also boosts perception, especially if it aspects the Sun, Moon, Mercury, or the Ascendant. I’m not sure it’s actually psychic, but if your powers of observation are acute, no one can tell the difference.
By house: The twelfth, eighth, and fourth houses carry the most weight.
A classic illustration of psychic ability gone wild is the renowned healer Edgar Cayce, who worked as a “psychic diagnostician” (his term) by entering a trance and suggesting cures for clients he had never even met.
His chart (Figure 19-5) showed all the indications of psychic ability. He had the Sun and three planets in Pisces, three planets in the eighth house, a Moon/Neptune conjunction in the tenth house, and Uranus rising.
Figure 19-5: Edgar Cayce’s birth chart.
Becoming an Astrologer
Becoming a skilled astrologer has nothing to do with psychic ability. Astrology is an accumulated body of knowledge — not the mystic ability to intercept messages from the spirit world. Anyone can learn it. But you’re more likely to be interested if you have some of the following in your chart:
A prominent Uranus.
Activity in Aquarius and/or an active eleventh house. When I began studying astrology, I heard that two specific degrees often showed up in astrologers’ charts: 25° Aquarius and 25° Leo. I’m not sure I believe that.
Activity in Scorpio and/or the eighth house. Scorpio is subtle and incisive. It feels at home with contradictions and hidden motivations, and it loves to ferret out a mystery — and that’s what astrology is all about.
Case in point: Isabel M. Hickey, whose 1970 book, Astrology: A Cosmic Science, 2nd edition (CRCS Publications, 1992), has inspired generations of astrologers. Look what she had going for her (see Figure 19-6): Uranus rising in her first house; Saturn in Aquarius; a Scorpio Ascendant; the Sun in Leo at 25°, one of the so-called astrologer’s degrees; and a sensitive Moon/Neptune conjunction in the eighth house.
Figure 19-6: Isabel Hickey, astrologer extraordinaire.
It’s astonishing how many people fantasize about writing. Here’s what it takes to be a success:
By sign: Great writers are born under every sign of the zodiac, but Gemini is especially haunted by the urge to write. Having the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Ascendant, or Midheaven in the sign of the Twins encourages writing ability.
By planet: Becoming a successful writer requires a robust Mercury. Mercury is strong if it rules the Ascendant or Midheaven, if it’s in Gemini or Virgo, if it makes close aspects to other planets, and if it’s in the third, sixth, ninth, or tenth houses. Don’t fret if your Mercury is retrograde. That placement is so common among the authors I admire that I’ve started to wonder whether it’s actually an advantage.
Saturn, the planet of self-discipline, is essential. Imaginative Neptune can be pivotal, especially in writing poetry, fiction, and song lyrics.
The Moon is arguably the most important planet, as the researcher Michel Gauquelin discovered. He found that creative writers are more likely than nonwriters to have the Moon in one of the so-called zones of power: either overhead (that is, in the ninth house or conjunct the Midheaven in the tenth) or rising (in the first house conjunct the Ascendant or in the twelfth house of secrets and solitude).
By house: Look for activity in the third house of communication, the ninth house of publication, and the fifth house of creativity.
To observe this in real life, take a look at novelist Toni Morrison’s chart (see Chapter 16). She doesn’t have every one of the characteristics listed above. Then again, no one does. But her Mercury is conjunct her Midheaven; Venus, the ruler of her Ascendant, is in the ninth house of publication conjunct Saturn; two planets are in the third house (with one more knocking at the gate); and Neptune, the planet of the imagination, is located in the fifth house of creativity. By becoming a writer, she fulfilled the potential of her chart.