The Rock God
birth 20 August 1948 3.05 pm West Bromwich
At one point in Almost Famous, Cameron Crowe’s rock movie, the lead singer of the imaginary band Stillwater is standing on a rooftop, arms aloft, head back, ripped on acid. ‘I’m a fucking rock god,’ he proclaims before diving into the swimming pool below.
Stillwater are fictional, but the quote was real enough, originally roared out across Los Angeles in 1973 by Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant. He was 25, singer with the most successful rock band in the world, a shaggy icon with everything any young man could yearn for: good looks, an amazing voice, riches and fame. Plant’s only rival for the crown of the greatest living rock god was Mick Jagger.
The two singers had much in common: a mane of locks, striking features, wide shoulders, slim hips, and a close alliance with a charismatic lead guitarist. For astrologers, the similarity was not surprising, as both singers belong to the sign of Leo, having several planets alongside the birthday Sun in the sign. In 1969, Jagger had even worn a stage outfit emblazoned with the Leo insignia.
Leo is the sign of the Sun and of royalty. Its symbolism has long been claimed by the royal lines of all nations – Louis Quatorze, ‘the Sun King’, was a Leo, as was Hailie Selassie, ‘The Lion of Judah’. Self-styled Leo emperors include Napoleon Bonaparte, Mussolini and Fidel Castro.
The deeper meaning of the sign is that ‘every man and woman is a star’, naturally radiant, a king or queen to themselves. The sign’s negative side is stubbornness, arrogance and self-centredness – after all, if you’re a king or queen, the world revolves round you.
Although like Jagger, Planet is an obvious Leo, his horoscope brings in other qualities. His Moon sign is Pisces, poetic and mystic, his Ascendant is Sagittarius, sign of the explorer and traveller, two strands which would become increasingly central to both the Led Zeppelin identity and, later, to Plant’s solo work. (1)At first, however, Plant was the junior in the group, which had been formed by Jimmy Page, already, in 1968, a national star with the Yardbirds.
One would expect strong bonds between the birth charts of Plant and Page, and so it proves, but there are equally important differences. The ultimate emphasis in Plant’s chart is fire (Leo and Sagittarius), representing spirit. Page, with his Sun in Capricorn (earth), Moon in Cancer and Ascendant in Scorpio (both water) is a more secretive, emotional creature. Just as Jagger had paraded his star sign on stage, so Page, in 1973, sported a pair of trousers on which the sigils of Capricorn, Scorpio and Cancer were emblazoned. Page had long been deep into astrology as part of his studies into magic and, in particular, the sinister English magician Aleister Crowley, whose Scottish home he bought. .
Most intriguing is that the charts of Page and Plant find their respective Saturn, the control planet, sitting exactly on the other man’s Jupiter, the planet of exuberance. This describes the way the pair both complemented each other, but how their relationship also became a struggle for control over each other.
The other two members of Led Zeppelin chime well with the group’s principal players. In John Paul Jones’ chart, the emphasis is, as with Page, on Capricorn/Cancer. In John Bonham’s horoscope Sagittarius and Pisces dominate, as with Plant. For the group’s fourth album, Page created a ‘magical’ symbol for each member, giving the feather of the Egyptian god of truth, Maat, to Plant, and creating his own symbol with an adapted sigil of Capricorn. The other two had more standard forms of three interlocking circles.
All four members of Zeppelin were born with the distant, slow-moving planet Pluto in the sign of Leo – as was everybody born between 1938-56. Because Pluto moves so slowly, it is sometimes used to mark out entire generations – in this case the ‘baby-boomer’ generation with its Leo-like insistence of ‘me first’.
If Plant was a rock star embodiment of the Leo principle (with Sun, Saturn and Pluto in the sign), the songs he gave Zeppelin mirrored the Sagittarian and Piscean themes of his horoscope. ‘Ramble On’ and ‘Over The Hills and Far Away’ are virtually catchphrases for the gypsy instincts of Sag, and his preoccupation with the mystic landscapes of Wales and the epic struggles of Tolkien’s Lord Of the Rings (at their fullest on ‘The Battle of Nevermore’) likewise reflect Jupiter and Sagittarius’ for distant lands and cosmic landscapes. (2). Later in life, Plant would indeed become a traveller, extensively exploring North Africa, India and North America.
Plant wrote his most famous song, ‘’Stairway to Heaven’, in the winter of 1970/71 and it was first performed on March 6th, 1971. His horoscope cannily indicates its importance (3), though it’s Neptune, planet of enchantment and escapism, which provides the main signifier. ‘Stairway’ duly enchanted a whole generation and beyond, becoming something of a burden for Plant in the process.
Many of the important events in Plant’s career are reflected by the movement of planets round his horoscope, though one must remember that there were three other musicians’ charts involved. For Plant, the transit of planets over the pinnacle of his horoscope, the so-called MC, has invariably co-incided with a major development. He joined Zeppelin when the bolt-from-the-blue planet Uranus passed over this point (4), and the group split up when Saturn reached this point (5). Plant’s solo career began, in April 1981, when Jupiter passed the MC. (6)
The current state of his horoscope suggests that there are more sparks to come form the veteran rock god. His new group, Strange Sensation, and album, ‘Mighty Rearranger’ (his best in many years), arrived as the electric planet Uranus was again active (7).
1. Plant’s Pisces Moon is opposite Mercury, the writer’s planet. His rising sign, Sagittarius also includes Jupiter, in dignity in its own sign.
2. Witness, for example, Jimi Hendrix, with Sun and Jupiter in Sagittarius. J.R.R. Tolkien had Moon in Pisces (like Plant) and Jupiter in dignity in that sign.
3. Transit Pluto on natal MC, transit Neptune on natal Ascendant, Transit Uranus on natal Neptune. The Sun and Mercury were loosely conjunct Plant’s Moon.
4. Transit Uranus on MC in August 1968, as Zep record their first album.
5. Transit Saturn conjunct MC September 1980, when Bonham was discovered dead. Saturn retreated to the same point in spring 1981, when Zeppelin were declared officially defunct.
6. An abortive attempt at reforming came in 1985/6 as Saturn transited Plant’s ascendant. His reunion with Page in 1995 came with Pluto crossing his ascendant.
7. Transit Uranus conjunct natal Moon June 2004 and February 2005.