Monday, 11 January 2016

Ziggy Stardust - Thank You Very Much, Bye Bye, We Love You

A sad day, hearing the news of the passing of David Bowie, an otherworldly genius whose magic was that he was so relatable, so down to earth, yet so not of the earth.
It makes sense that David Bowie’s most famous alter-ego, Ziggy Stardust, was a futuristic alien on a humanitarian mission to earth.
It was January 29th 1972 when Bowie and his band took to the stage in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire for a warm up gig for the ’72-’73 Ziggy Stardust Tour. The chart for that concert* has transiting Sun exactly conjunct Bowie’s Ascendant at 9 Aquarius, symbolising recognition, praise, and the ego projecting brightly out into the world through innovative, unconventional Aquarius.

Although Bowie had not yet fully embraced the bisexual alien rock superstar with a message of hope for a dying human race - all the elements were in place. The spiky red hair, the futuristic, androgynous costumes and the ambiguious sexuality**

A Starman was born.

Most of the songs on the Ziggy Stardust album were recorded when Bowie had transiting Neptune Conjunct his natal Venus, a transit for beauty, fantasy, creativity and illusion and by the time of the tour, when the songs were made public, Neptune had moved to his MC. These transits reflect the album’s themes of salvation, soul love and the struggle to hold onto the dream.
Click to enlarge

However, when Neptune had finished with his MC, it was time for the illusion to end. Bowie’s natal Moon-Saturn-Pluto conjunction in Leo which straddles his Descendent, foreshadows Ziggy’s very public demise and indeed, by the time Bowie killed Ziggy off on stage in July ’73, shocking fans and bandmates alike, transiting Jupiter had crossed his ASC and was making a series of Oppositions to his natal Moon and Saturn, suggesting that keeping up the public persona of Ziggy had become frustrating, hard work and emotionally draining and explaining his need to get out of the rut and expand his horizons.

Transiting Uranus’ Squares to natal Mars and Sun were over by Autumn ‘72, but they certainly suggest that his desire to kill off his alter ego was not the spur of the moment decision it appeared to be. Transiting Jupiter had crossed his ASC in March that year and by July was making a series of Oppositions to Bowie’s natal Moon-Saturn Conjunction, suggesting that keeping up the public persona of Ziggy had become frustrating, hard work and emotionally demanding hard work and Bowie felt the need to get out of the rut and expand his horizons.
"Thank You Very Much, Bye Bye, We Love You"

But the end of Ziggy was just the end of the start for Bowie and after many years, many albums and many personas later, Bowie has earned his status as a true legend. And now the Starman’s time on earth has come to an end, we can look up to the firmament and smile through our tears, for he has gone home.

“News guy wept and told us
earth was really dying
Cried so much his face was wet
then I knew he was not lying”

*7.30pm, 29th January 1972 from original advertising poster on display at Aylesbury Friars

** A married Bowie had declared himself gay in an interview with Melody Maker magazine just days  before the Aylesbury gig

David Bowie 8th January 1947, 9.15am Brixton, London. Source: Astrodatabank. Rodden rating: A


Saturday, 2 January 2016

Songs for a Saturn Transit

Happy 2016. I saw in the New Year with my husband and a bunch of good friends and because they are metal fans, there were Lemmy Christmas cards, vintage Motörhead t-shirts and just before midnight our host shared a bottle of Motörhead Shiraz he'd been saving for a special occasion. We head-banged to Ace of Spades although perhaps not as violently as we might have done 20 years ago.

This made me remember something I wrote in 2010 - Sounds for a Saturn Transit - so I've reposted it below not only because it features the music of Mr Ian (Lemmy) Kilmister and his band, but also because it provides a little music therapy for those of you having, or looking forward to, a Saturn transit this year.

One, two, three, let's go....

Music therapy is a recognised and widely used therapeutic technique, which uses sound, dance and movement to aid physical, emotional and mental health.
In fact, as early as the 17th century it was said that music was critical in the treatment of melancholy, that very Saturnian state of mind that "goes and comes upon every small occasion of sorrow, need, sickness, trouble, fear, grief, passion...which causes anguish, dulness, heaviness and vexation of spirit, any ways opposite to pleasure, mirth, joy, delight"*.
And haven't most of us used music as a form of self-therapy? I mean who of you doesn't have a personal soundtrack to your life, for the best of times and for the worst? Remember being a broken-hearted, put upon, fed up, stressed-out teenager hiding in your room, listening to some angry rocking tracks and mournful dirges to make yourself feel better? Perhaps you were having a Saturn transit at the time?

Most of us still still use music as catharsis, even if we don't admit it, so in that spirit, here are some musical gems especially selected to indulge a Saturn transit.
"You win some, lose some, it's - all - the same to me"
Plug in your best air guitar and shout along, very loudly. Lead singer Lemmy was a Christmas Capricorn with a strong Saturn signature in his chart, so he knew just how you feel!

Also check out Capricorn by Motorhead "When I was young I was already old, My Life, my heart, black night, dark star, Capricorn."

"A song in which to weep, While we rock ourselves to sleep"
Nick Cave's trademark hybrid of lyrical blues, gospel, rock, and arty post-punk, results in a dark, challenging sound, full of emotional intensity, but somehow lifting. A talented song-writer, singer and author, Cave expresses his natal Mercury square Saturn perfectly, helped along by creative quintiles from Saturn to his Sun and Mars in Virgo.

"And I'm here to remind you, Of the mess you left when you went away"
Alanis Morissette's harsh and angry break up song has helped many a wronged woman through the worst. It's even rumoured that she wrote it about one of her own relationships! Like Cave (above), Morissette is also a Mercury-Saturn native, hers an exact conjunction in super-sensitive Cancer. [Warning: explicit lyrics]

"I try to laugh about it, Hiding the tears in my eyes"
This tune from post-punk, goth-pop band The Cure is a tale of a man who desperately wants to get his lost love back, but instead of showing how he really feels and asking for forgiveness, he hides his emotions, because boys don't cry, do they? An expression of singer-songwriter Robert Smith's Mercury-Mars-Saturn T-square perhaps? 

"How does it feel?"
Dylan's classic, written in 1965, was revolutionary and controversial in its day and it's gone on to become one of the most influential tracks of all time. It's easy to see how Dylan's natal stellium of Moon, Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus in his creative 5th house, are reflected in his music, with its Saturn-Uranus themes of protest and rebellion against tradition.


"Living just to find emotion, Hiding somewhere in the night"

If Dylan's classic symbolises Saturn-Uranus, then rock band Journey's rousing anthem was a great track for the [2010] Saturn-Pluto square. Originally a minor hit at the start of the current Saturn-Pluto cycle in '81/'82 it suddenly became a meteoric hit during [the most recent] Saturn-Pluto square, thanks to covers on the X-Factor and on popular TV show Glee.

Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age
No collection of Saturnine music would be complete without the Saturn movement from Gustav Holst's The Planets. Of all the seven movements, Saturn was said to be Holst's personal favourite. Enjoy the steady, serene, deliberate sound of stoicism.

What are your sounds for a Saturn transit?

NOTE: This is part of a collection of articles about the Saturn, Uranus, Pluto Cardinal T-Square for the International Astrology Blogathon, March 19-21, 2010. The rest of the collection is here:
*The Anatomy of Melancholy by Robert Burton, 1621.
Artist birth data from and Astrodatabank
Music selections by various persons

If you want to look further into how you can use music and sound therapeutically, type "music therapy" into Amazon and you'll find a long selection of books and other resources to choose from.

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