It’s been seven months since David Bowie’s death - 11 January 2016 - and the outpouring of feeling is ongoing, the evidence of which can be found on social media and in the various cultural events held in his honour throughout the world. It’s difficult to pigeonhole David Bowie as an artist and as an individual; he represents many things to many people. His natal chart reflects his multi-faceted and contradictory nature, where layers of personality and talent seemingly clash, causing internal frustration but manifesting outwardly creatively, sometimes brilliantly, sometimes not. Here, the Air element is powerful. In the early stages of Bowie’s career at least, this airy quality overshadowed his more subdued and traditional Sun in Capricorn, which hid away in the twelfth house, the horoscope’s sanctuary. Bowie’s story reflects what some astrologers call ‘growing into our Sun signs’, the mythology for which Capricorn as tenacious goat climbing the proverbial mountain to reach its pinnacle is noted for.
Outwardly, David Bowie embodied the qualities normally associated with the air sign Aquarius – scientific, futuristic, progressive, prophetic - despite his Sun’s placement in pragmatic Capricorn. With Aquarius rising, the planet Uranus becomes chart ruler, giving Bowie an alternative edge. Uranus’ glyph resembles a satellite designed to explore the far reaches of time and space, a theme often repeated in Bowie’s early work. His 1969 breakthrough single Space Oddity, released close to the moon landing, covers cosmonaut Major Tom’s existential space journey. Through classics such as Space Oddity, Ziggy Stardust, Life on Mars, Starman, Moonage Daydream, and Loving the Alien, we learn of the visions and possibilities forgotten on the earthly plane.
His chart ruler, Uranus in Gemini, in the fifth house of romance sextile Pluto in the seventh house of relationships alludes to Bowie’s experimental and transformative sex life. He was magnetised by the gay scene, which was still underground in the early 1970s, and became a camp icon in an era when homosexuals lived in fear of discovery. Critics such as the queer writer John Gill condemned Bowie for using and betraying gay culture for his own commercial gain. Nevertheless, Bowie set a precedent that heralded in a new generation of androgynous stars who were successful in the 1980s: Gary Numan, Boy George (Culture Club), Marilyn, Phil Oakey (Human League), George Michael (Wham!), Morrissey (The Smiths), Pete Burns (Dead or Alive), and Steve Strange (Visage) who appears in the Ashes to Ashes promotional video:
The above is a extract from the next issue of Astrobabble, copies of which I will be flogging at Manly Zine Fair in September. See you there.