Birth 9 October 1940, 6.30 pm, Liverpool. Died December 8, 1980
When John Lennon implored the world to ‘Give Peace A Chance’, he was giving voice to a central theme of his Sun sign, The Scales. As its symbol suggests, this is the sign of harmony and judgment, of peace and justice reached through diplomacy and co-operation.
So much for the theory. In practice, The Scales are always swinging wildly, as it tries to bring opposites into equilibrium, making it the sign of sudden enthusiasms and even extremism.
The tension between high ideals and the imperfect real world helps explain why there are so many artists – in particular rock and rollers – born under the sign; music is one place you can put the world back in balance. Hence we get angry, difficult Librans like Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis and Eminem, ‘peace warriors’ like Lennon, Bob Geldof and Sting, aesthetes and romantics like Marc Bolan, Gwen Stifani and Bryan Ferry, and downright show-offs like Meatloaf and David Lee Roth. Bruce ‘The Boss’ Springsteen neatly combines all of Libra’s roles.
For Lennon, the struggle to find harmony in his life was especially difficult. Being born at dusk, just as the Sun was going down, his all-important ‘Ascendant’ was Aries the warrior, the sign of ‘me first’, just as Libra is the sign of ‘me and you’. Lennon spent his life juggling roles between tough guy/troublemaker and romantic/peacenik. In his early years he was the hard rocker and bully, though he was not above the occasional fight even after his huge success – witness the famous scene of him being thrown out the LA Troubadour during the 18 month ‘lost weekend’ of 1973. Even when he became a hippy apostle of peace with slogans like ‘War is over if you want it’, he did so in a confrontational way.
With Mercury, the writer’s planet, sited in the ruthless sign of Scorpio, Lennon’s words often took on a harsh, sometimes poisonous tone. He was the master of the sneer and the put-down – see ‘How Do You Sleep At Night’, his jibe at McCartney, or the sick humour in his two books, A Spaniard in the Works and In His Own Write.
The need for a perfect relationship, typical of Libra, also required a balancing act. Lennon got married when he was still a teenager, and maintained the fiction of a normal marriage despite the debaucheries of the Beatles tours. He left his first wife only after meeting his second. He also found it hard to create alone, the role of artistic partner being taken first by Paul McCartney, and then by Yoko Ono. McCartney, born with a Gemini Sun and Leo Moon, is Lennon’s astrological ‘soul brother’.
Lennon’s intense relationship with women is mirrored in his horoscope, where the Moon in Aquarius is opposed by the intense energies of Pluto, ruler of the underworld. The Moon represents both the emotional life and the mother. John’s relationship with his mother Julia wasn’t easy – she farmed out her son to be brought up by her sister, Mimi, and was killed in a road accident when John was 18, leaving an emotional chasm he found hard to fill. Intriguingly, John’s first wife, Cynthia, has her Moon exactly opposite John’s (1) while Yoko’s Sun is in Aquarius, one of many strong links between their birth charts (2). In their later years together, John’s nickname for Yoko was ‘Mother’.
Both John and Yoko manifested the unorthodox, avant-garde qualities of Aquarius; the rebellion against conventional values, the championship of humanitarian ideals, the oddball artistic stunts like their ‘bed-in’ for peace. (It’s easy to forget now just how way-out and rebellious Yoko Ono was in her youth: the daughter of a rich banking family, her flight to the west, and her embrace of art and feminism were deeply shocking to Japanese society).
Lennon’s Moon (high in the sky at the time of birth, showing someone comfortable with being in the public eye) also mirrored several key events in his life. Saturn, the planet of achievement, passed across it in October 1962, almost exact to the day when the Beatles’ first single, ‘Love Me Do’, was released. Jupiter, the freedom planet, was opposite the Moon when John and Yoko first met in November 1966. His retirement from public life in 1975 coincided with Saturn moving opposite his Moon.
Other planets moving across key points in Lennon’s horoscope also mirrored the changes through which he passed. Saturn’s return to its starting point at birth – at around the age of 29 – invariably shows an important point of transformation. For Lennon it marked his decision to quit the Beatles, a course of ‘Primal Therapy’ with Dr. Arthur Janov and making the back-to-basics Plastic Ono Band album. (3)
John Lennon’s horoscope suggests there was nothing ‘fated’ about his murder in December 1980. His shooting was the random act of a madman. There was one remarkable piece of planetary symbolism in play, however. Lennon was born at the precise meeting of Saturn and Jupiter, an event that falls every twenty years, and he died at another conjunction of the two planets, aged only 40. his death came just at the moment when the volatile star of his generation had achieved the elusive balance he had always struggled to find.
1. Cynthia Lennon b 10 September 1939. Her Leo Moon is opposite John’s Moon, and conjuncts his (and her) Pluto.
2. Yoko Ono b. 18 February 1933, 8.30 pm Tokyo. Sun, Venus and Saturn in Aquarius make Yoko both a natural lover for John and someone who tries to dominate him. Uranus falling in each other’s seventh house indicates an unorthodox, compulsive relationship.
3. Saturn returned to its natal position in June 1970.