John Denver Flies On
As our readers are well aware by now, I rarely write about the stars of the entertainment world. I am more interested in people wielding spiritual, political, or economic power. Of course, some Hollywood types are also involved in these other forms of power. Since I mostly ignore the entertainment stars, I lack any in-depth knowledge of their personal lives, but readers of The Mutable Dilemma with some interest in them may be able to fill in the life details for themselves. All I know about John Denver is that he was a singing star, loved by many, and that he had problems in his personal relationships, a pervasive issue for many people.
We have accurate birth certificate data for Denver from Lois Rodden. He was born on December 31, 1943 at 15:55 MWT in Roswell, NM. He died on October 12, 1997 when his private plane which he was flying crashed into Monterey Bay, CA. There were initial questions about the possibility that Denver might have been intoxicated, or that the plane had mechanical problems, or had run out of gas. I have not heard whether a final conclusion was reached on the cause of the crash.
Astrology associates artistic talent with an emphasis on letters two, seven, and twelve, Venus, Neptune, and their signs and houses. Denver’s chart certainly provides such an emphasis. His Moon in Pisces is in the 10th house of career and he has a loaded 12th house which includes Vesta, our Virgo workaholic, just above the Ascendant. The Moon rules Cancer, which is partly in the 1st house, so it is a key to his basic identity. All forms of letter one are part of the picture, showing what we do naturally from the beginning of life. Mars, anything in Aries, anything in the first house, or conjunct the Ascendant and/or Mars, and/or a ruler of the 1st house signs, symbolizes part of one’s basic identity. Vesta is widely conjunct the Ascendant but very closely conjunct Mars, so we have two counts connecting work to Pisces, the 10th house Moon and Vesta, but three counts so far connecting identity to work. Repeating that theme, Saturn is in the 1st house and Mercury, ruler of the Ascendant, is in Capricorn. If we consider Ceres as partly Virgo as well as partly Cancer, Ceres in the 1st house repeats Denver’s identification with work for the 6th time. This is a clear theme.
To repeat the potential of a Piscean career, we also have Uranus, a ruler of the 10th house, in the Pisces house, and we have Neptune, another 10th house ruler, in the Venus sign of Libra supporting an artistic profession. The 5th house can be expressed through many forms of creativity. Venus in the 6th house is another support for artistic work. Since the Taurus principle is a key to how we earn a living, Denver’s two auxiliary Ascendants, the East Point and the Antivertex in Taurus in the Pisces house, reinforce his identification with pleasure and beauty and his ability to earn a living with beauty and/or idealism. Moving to his west coast home also gave Denver a local Ascendant in Taurus as another identification with the sign typically associated with the throat and singing.
Showmanship and stage presence are among the many forms of creativity associated with letter five. In addition to his 5th house Neptune, Denver had two planets and the north lunar node in the sign of Leo. As additions to the connection between career and letter 5, the Sun, its natural ruler, was in Capricorn, and Jupiter, a co-ruler of the 10th house Pisces, was in Leo.
Shifting to a different theme, Denver’s emphasis on the mutable signs and houses shows the potential for verbal skills which could be expressed in learning and communicating, including speaking or writing or composing or all of the above. Traveling is also part of the mutable potential. The lunar nodes are in the two polarities associated with learning and teaching, in the houses of Gemini-Sagittarius and the signs of Leo-Aquarius. Denver’s grand trine in air signs in mostly fire houses (though part of the Gemini corner is in the 12th house) aspects his trine between Pallas and Pluto and the north lunar node, which are in fire signs in air houses. The emphasis on air and fire shows someone with extraordinary creative, expressive talent. Such a person will usually be persuasive, magnetic, and charismatic. However, the ability to have an emotional impact on many people does not guarantee harmonious, lasting, close relationships. Sagittarius on the Descendant shows a desire for a perfect partner while Capricorn in the other house of partnership, the 8th, shows the tendency to be very aware of flaws in close relationships. If we project these tendencies, we are likely to attract others who want more from us than we can deliver. Denver’s tight conjunction of Mars-Uranus-Vesta is another key to potential challenges in relationships. A close Mars-Uranus conjunction shows an intense need for personal freedom. The repeated identification with work is often a sign that the career will take precedence over relationships. The need for personal control shown by the fixed signs and Capricorn is a further road block that would need to be handled in order to have a lasting, comfortable marriage. An emphasis on water, including the strong water houses, also shows a need for some alone-time, which again can complicate personal relationships. Life is a juggling act. To be a whole person with room for all twelve sides of life, we have to do a lot of compromising. Problems with addictions are often associated with an emphasis on the fixed sides of life in addition to letters nine and twelve. The latter two, which are keys to idealism, sometimes lead to perpetual frustration since the world is never ideal. However, Denver was said to have overcome his previous problems with alcohol. He was still adored by many fans around the world, with his music still much loved.
What does his chart should tell us about his emotional state when his plane nose dived into Monterey Bay? We can see the continuing public favor with his long-term grand air trine of Neptune, P Uranus, and P north lunar node. His local MC where he died, not far from his California home, was 3 Aquarius 59, so it was part of the grand trine. P Jupiter had been on his IC for years. P Vesta and P Antivertex sextiled Pluto and Pallas and trined the natal north node. P Mars was trine Juno and P Ascendant was trine Venus and semisextile Jupiter. P East Point was trine the Moon. P Pallas was sextile P Ceres and about to start a trine to Jupiter, though it was also square Mercury. Perhaps the most obvious clue to Denver’s inner discontent was his P Sun in early Pisces quincunx Neptune and reaching a square to P Uranus just a month before his death. The Sun represents our urge to do more than we have done before, and to be recognized for it. Denver had certainly received and was still receiving recognition for his artistic career, but no matter how one may deny and repress it, an 8th house Sun wants a committed relationship with a mate. Denver’s Neptune in a sign of partnership and in the natural house of the Sun hungers for an ideal mate. In conflict with these desires, Uranus and Mars together reinforce the fear of losing freedom. P Uranus remained conjunct natal Mars through all of Denver’s life, an intense, subconscious overvaluing of and fear of losing freedom. When the P Sun confronted this unresolved, inner conflict, I think that Denver’s subconscious opted out.
There were many other aspects, of course, and the presence of many harmonious ones can be part of the problem. Harmony aspects show where we know what we want and we feel that we should have it. When subconscious conflicts prevent attaining the conscious desires, the normal reaction is even more intense frustration that is felt by someone who is fully aware of personal conflict and looking for a compromise between the different desires. I wonder whether Denver might have worked out a compromise if he had worked with a good psychotherapist or a good psychological astrologer? He was just five months short of his progressed New Moon, a new 30-year cycle. P Venus was about to trine Neptune and cross his local MC and south lunar node. The mixture could have been expressed through working on relationship issues. Did his many harmonious aspects show the feeling that he should have what he wanted, that he should not have to compromise his desires?
I have written often about the midpoint of Saturn/south lunar node as a major key to lessons, so I was struck to see that Denver’s P MC, which is equivalent to Saturn, was conjunct both that midpoint and the midpoint of Ascendant/MC. The combination is like a conjunction of three forms of Saturn! We add a 4th form when we note that transiting Saturn had just retrograded within a one-degree orb of the P MC. As previously noted, natal Saturn was in the Aries house, the Moon ruling the Aries house was in the natural house of Saturn, and Mercury also ruling the 1st house was in Capricorn. I have written extensively about the one-ten combinations which can range from “My will is Law and I should be able to have what I want,” to “the world has all the power and I am powerless.” We can fight the world or try to run away from it or we can learn to compromise. Looking at some of other ways that astrology can picture a theme, the nodes of Saturn and Pluto and sometimes Jupiter and Vesta are often near 18 to 19 degrees of Cancer-Capricorn. Denver’s P north Pluto and P north Saturn were in 18 Cancer while his south node of Pluto was in 19 Capricorn, so his P Sun was octile or trioctile them. During periods when Saturn is emphasized, we need to be more than usually practical in our handling of the physical world, and productive to satisfy our conscience. At such times, we also need to pay attention to the feedback we get from the world which will let us know how we are doing in handling the rules of the game. At the very least, we should make sure the plane is in good shape, with adequate gas, etc. Among the potentially relevant asteroids, we would look for Oceana (ocean), Poseidon (the Greek Neptune), Wright (inventor of airplanes), Icarus (who crashed), Phaethon (ditto), and the usual death ones. Denver’s P south lunar node was conjunct Poseidon, and had held the aspect for years. P Icarus had recently reached the P south lunar node and was also conjunct the local MC. P Mercury was conjunct Oceana and quincunx Chiron. P Phaethon was just past the local Antivertex but still octile Denver’s Ascendant. P Neptune had opposed Swissair, named for an airline, throughout Denver’s life, in addition to holding a trioctile to natal Wright. P Swissair was octile Vesta, but sextile the MC. Natal Icarus had been closely conjunct Denver’s natal Sun and P Nemesis was on it and quincunx the Ascendant. P Saturn continued to hold a long opposition to natal Nemesis. P Karma in 7 Capricorn was quincunx P Vesta. Turning to the death asteroids, P Anubis opposed the Ascendant. Natal Hela and California were conjunct in 1 Sagittarius and P Damocles squared them from Pisces. P Hela opposed P Ceres and P California opposed natal Ceres and was quincunx P Wright. P Moon was square P Wright. P Hel in 6 Pisces was quincunx the north lunar node and P Pluto as well as square Vesta. P Libitina had reached the progressed Saturn/south lunar node and was trioctile Jupiter and octile Damocles. Astrology shows our state of mind. We have to conclude that John Denver was subconsciously looking for a way out.
After I had finished the article above and noted the dramatic Saturn aspects in the secondary progressions and transits, I started wondering what aspects might have existed to Saturn in some of the other astrological systems for projecting into the future. Solar Arc Directions move everything in the chart the same distance which the Secondary Progressed Sun has moved. I checked them, and found directed Saturn in 14 Leo 17 where it had appropriate separative aspects opposing Juno and quincunx the Moon. With Juno much like Pluto and the Moon in the natural house of Saturn and a ruler of the first house, those aspects fit the event.
Tertiary Progressions calculate the positions of the planets as many days after birth as the individual is lunar months old. Each time the transiting Moon returns to its natal position is counted as one lunar month. In Denver’s case, his Tertiary Saturn was less impressive. It had reached 23 Cancer where it squared Tertiary Jupiter in 23 Libra and it was trioctile Tertiary Mercury and Pallas in 7 Sagittarius, so it supported the picture shown in the other systems, but was less dramatic. Since Jupiter, its sign, and Mercury are all connected to travel, we might have said that Denver needed to be cautious in his travels. The basic psychological issue is present in all of the systems; conflict between goals and ideals (Jupiter-Neptune) and the limits of the physical world (Saturn).
Minor Progressions look at the sky as many lunar months after birth as the individual is years old. This is one of the systems taught by the Church of Light and may have been invented by its founder, C.C. Zane. Minor progressed Saturn hit pay dirt with Saturn on the IC. The IC and the 8th house cusp and sometimes the 12th house cusp are often associated with endings, closure. Death is one of many forms of endings.