Jerry Garcia Moves On

Zip Dobyns

Jerry Garcia co-founded the rock band The Grateful Dead in 1965 with Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh and Ron “Pigpen” McKerman (who died in 1973). When Jerry died of a heart attack on August 9, 1995, he remained a beloved figure to fans of all ages. His music was a mix of rock, blues, country, jazz and folk, and his image maintained the egalitarian, hippie counter-culture of the 1960s despite the fact that his band was consistently one of the biggest moneymakers in rock. Jerry was also generous with his money, helping to support other less financially successful musicians, including some who played classical music. He has been variously described as the most warm and wonderful person in the world, as Buddha-like, grandfatherly, charismatic; a person who somehow pulled an audience into a mystical union that Joseph Campbell described as more truly spiritual than the state achieved by most religious services.

Jerry’s problems were also vintage 60s. He started with pot and LSD and went on to heroin and cocaine while continuing to be a heavy tobacco smoker with a poor diet. The consequences included diabetes, almost totally blocked arteries to the heart, and an early death at age 53.

Jerry’s birth data is A quality from Lois Rodden and a birth certificate. He was born on August 1, 1942 at 12:05 P.M. PWT in San Francisco, CA. We can see his emotional warmth and potential charisma with Libra rising and the Ascendant ruler, Venus, in a close conjunction with Jupiter in Jupiter’s own house; a fire-water combination with a fire planet in a water sign in a fire house. A triple conjunction of Sun (fire) and Pluto (water) and Mercury in Leo (fire) repeats the theme, and it is said again by the Moon (water) in Aries (fire) plus Juno (water) in Scorpio (water) in the natural Aries (fire) first house. Pisces in the fifth house says it once more.

The strong emphasis on fixed signs and houses adds to the tendency to maintain one’s habits despite the mutable and air factors which tend to be more flexible and the fire which is always creative, looking for something new or more. Individuals with the fixed dilemma are also commonly dealing with issues involving some form of sensuality, whether money, possessions, or pleasures. Jerry’s nodes and Mars are in fixed houses squaring Uranus and Saturn, co-rulers of Aquarius, in the natural house of Scorpio. Saturn in that eighth house shows a lesson somewhere in the Pluto area. His Vertex axis in the signs and houses of Taurus/Scorpio also shows a need for integration in those parts of life. Obviously, Jerry was highly successful in making money and sharing it with others, but he waited too long before embarking in his final few months on an attempt to curtail his physical over-indulgences. He also had trouble maintaining a long-term marriage. He was on his third marriage when he died. He had four daughters despite the south lunar node which was in the fifth house square Uranus which ruled the fifth house. I don’t know how much he was involved in raising them.

It is possible for Venus conjunct Jupiter to be expressed by turning pleasure into an ultimate value, but the testimony of many people to the mystical feelings experienced by many in the audience at his concerts suggests that Jerry also had a deep faith in a higher power which he could project into and stimulate in his audience. And the Leo is certainly great for showmanship and personal fame. His music and his love will continue to live after him.

I was curious to see where the asteroids associated with excesses would occur in Jerry’s chart. Dionysus was conjunct Beer in Taurus in the eighth house and P Chiron was square them in Jerry’s final years as he tried to reform his habits. Pan, another indulgent Greek god, was just inside the ninth house, trine the Ascendant. Phaethon in 5 Gemini was also in the eighth house, with close squares to the lunar nodes. Atlantis was on the MC, along with Amor, California, and Don Quixote. Icarus and Minerva (wisdom) were both in 25 Cancer, square the East Point. P Pluto held a lifetime conjunction with Circe, who turned men into pigs. P Saturn moved into a square to Bacchus, the Roman Dionysus, in 13 Virgo. Somehow, in the end, it seems more important that Jerry loved and helped many people and stirred them to do the same.

At the end, Jerry’s P MC was conjunct Bacchus and square Saturn, marking the failure at self-discipline. His P Sun had been moving over Neptune for over three years as he tried to break his drug addiction. It had just moved into Libra and was still on Neptune when he moved on to make music for the angels. P Jupiter had been on his MC for years, signifying his career success, but the P north node of Pluto was also there, reminding of the issue of self-mastery, while the natal south node of Saturn opposite the MC reminded of the karmic consequences which follow our failure to live voluntarily within the rules of the physical game here on earth. Astrology has many ways to give its message. When Jerry made his transition, P Venus, P America, P Karma, and P Anubis, an Egyptian god of the dead, had all joined in a conjunction with Siva, the Hindu god who destroys in order to open to new life. Jerry’s P Moon in Pisces opposed Psyche, Paz (peace), and Philosophia and was trioctile Pluto when he parted, but within a few days it moved into a trine to P Jupiter and the MC. I’m sure Captain Trips was enjoying his latest trip.

Copyright © 1995 Los Angeles Community Church of Religious Science, Inc.

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