View Full Version : The Astrology of Ziggy Stardust

21st March 2014, 18:46
Bowie and the Outer Planets: The Astrology of Ziggy Stardust


"One man in his time plays many parts." -- William Shakespeare

On February 10, 1972. A pub in Southwest London. David Bowie played a gig that would go down in history. The musician did not perform as himself -- he appeared as an alien garbed in a strikingly androgynous outfit, his hair dyed shockingly red. This was Bowie's first public appearance as Ziggy Stardust with his band, The Spiders From Mars. It turned out to be a moment that would propel Bowie, who had previously released a few mildly successful albums, to super stardom and would ultimately revolutionize rock and roll, spawning countless new possibilities and genres in its wake.

On that historic night, Bowie incorporated elements of theatricality into his performance and made a post modern, ironic commentary on the distance between performer and audience that had never before been attempted -- giving rock, which was becoming stale in its message-laden sincerity, a much needed shot of adrenalin. This was the first of numerous public alter egos through which Bowie would channel his heavily conceptual songs, albums, and public performances -- blurring the lines between his art and his persona and casting shadows on the masks worn by public performers.


Part of the cultural significance of this wildly original moment of creative innovation is that it, along with the horrific Manson family murders and the ill fated, poorly organized free concert by the Rolling Stones at the Altamont Speedway which ended with a young black man being knifed to death by the Hell's Angels in front of the stage as the Stones played "Sympathy For The Devil", heralded the end of the idealstic 1960's. Bowie's Ziggy stage show would grow from here into a postmodern mythology which would include themes of aliens, futurism, salvation, fame, and apocolyptic catharsis -- themes which are archetypally reflected by the three outermost planets in our solar system.

Bowie is an artist who has always understood and creatively utilized the current archetypal energies to great effect. As a student of Astrology, which has an association with these same energies, I became interested in studying the connections between the planets in the sky on the evening of Ziggy's debut and the configuration of the planets at the moment David Bowie took his first breath. To phrase it differently, this is a look at the connections between the birth charts of Mr. Bowie and his creation, Ziggy Stardust.

Astrology is an ancient symbolic language which is based on the location of the planets in the sky at any given moment and on the angular and cyclical relationships those planets have with each other. The highly overused phrase "As above, so below" is a simple explanation of the concept that there is an unfolding of energies and events on our planet which can be symbolically decoded by examining the location and relationship of the celestial bodies in the sky as signified in an astrological chart. Much as musicians can translate notations on a sheet of music into various sounds, the astrologer can decode the glyphs in an astrological chart into a conversation with the Archetypal energies at any given moment in time. And just as each musician will have his or her own style of playing the notes on that page, so will each astrologer have his or her own style of interpreting the information in a horoscope.

As I will be looking at the transits, or location of the planets during a particular event in Bowie's life in relation to his birth chart, I will focus mainly on the powerful and slow moving outer planets, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. These planets, named so aptly for the mythological gods and archetypes they represent , move very slowly through the zodiac making their presences very potent indeed. It is for this very reason that astrologers tend to look to connections being made by these powerful outer planets to planets or sensitive points in the birth chart during important events or periods in the life of an individual.


Rewind. Almost 200 years before Ziggy. March 13, 1791. An Englishman is looking through his telescope and in one moment completely and forever disrupts the accepted classical view of the planets in our solar system. An old view is irrevocably shattered. Our solar system no longer ends with Saturn as was believed since ancient times. Unexpected, shocking new vistas and heretofore unimagined possiblities open up. Not coincidentally, this is the era of the American and French Revolutions and it is a time in which people are beginning to experiment with different methods of taking flight, leading eventually and ultimately to space travel. Sudden liberation from the old order, rebelliousness, innovation, disruption and disruptive events, electricity and lightning, wild creativity, high originality- these are some of the properties that Astrologers associate with Uranus. It's not much of a stretch of the imagination to guess the reasoning here.

Fast Forward. Ziggy's debut. While not nearly as paradigm shifting as the discovery of the first outer planet, the young singer, tongue planted in his Promethean cheekiness, would discover new horizons and revolutionize rock music in true Uranian fashion. Transiting Uranus was in the sign of Libra in February 1972 and was making a soft 120 degree angle (an exact trine) with Bowie's natal Uranus in Gemini signifying a highly compatible and easy flow of energies. Uranus is acting in this case as Awakener -- electrifying Bowie's artistic potential, activating an inner process of ever shifting curiosity, versatility and ambiguity, all qualities assocaited with the Gemini archetype: an internal dialogue at the deepest core of Bowie's being which "Changes," just like his famous song, with each passing intellectual idea that grabs his attention. We have the airy flow back and forth from Gemini and Libra of idea or thought into aesthetic ideal/art (Libran qualities) in a highly innovative, future oriented (Uranus) manner.


To add another layer here, Bowie's natal Uranus placement is very close to being located at the same degree of the zodiac (conjunct, in astrological terminology) as his North Node of the Moon. The Lunar Nodes are highly important points in the chart which signify directions of evolutionary development or stagnation and lessons. The North Node signifies that which we need to grow towards; the South Node usually signifies that which we need to leave behind. With Uranus so close to the North Node in Gemini, we can see that the properties and expression of this planet are highly important for Bowie's growth as a soul and as an artist.

As Bowie grew into his Uranian potential, so many of the songs that he would write (Gemini) would carry Uranian titles -- a few examples are "Rebel, Rebel, " "Loving the Alien," and "Aladdin Sane." David's next album cover would bear the image of him as an androgynous character (Gemini) with a lightning bolt (Uranus) painted on his face. I think it's also worth noting that Bowie's Aquarian Ascendant (the sign rising on the eastern horizon at the birth moment which signifies our approach to life) is ruled by the planet Uranus -- yet another clue to the importance of this planetary "sky god" to his life and art.

Transiting Uranus in Libra is also forming a nearly perfect square (a hard and challenging 90 degree angle) with Bowie's natal Sun/Mars conjunction in Capricorn. Bowie's natal Mercury, which is the ruling planet of the North Node in Gemini, is widely conjunct his Sun and Mars so it gets pulled in as well. Uranus in Libra: A shocking revolutionary expression of the alien (Uranus) and the culturally acceptable, including gender bending androgyny, and mock ritualized sexual acts performed on stage through fashion and artifice (Libra) challenging (the square aspect) the traditional (Capricorn ) male identity (Mars/Sun).


I think it's worth mentioning that Bowie (whose real name is David Jones) named himself after the Bowie knife -- a neat Sun/Mars reference of finding an identity (Sun) in a knife (Mars) and perhaps a foreshadowing of having alternate stage identities. I wonder if it is Bowie's Sun/Mars conjunction in the twelfth house which gives him the strength of identity and strong psychic boundaries (a specialty of Capricorn) to give form to various characters from the collective unconscious without losing himself totally in the process.

Mercury in Capricorn is the perfect placement with which to give structure and voice within the medium of popular songwriting to these highly original Uranian themes. On a final Uranian note, the transiting North Node in Aquarius had recently crossed Bowie's Ascendant, perhaps allowing his appearance and approach to life to reflect these Uranian group evolutionary themes while the transiting South Node in Leo was conjunct Bowie's natal Moon/Saturn conjunction, which makes a statement about his pride and responsibility as an artist.

The Leo/Aquarius themes of the alien and the adored, of the performer and the audience and of authentic expression from the heart and detachment are at play here. It's ironic in light of Moon/Saturn in Leo that Bowie would later have a hugely popular tour named"Serious Moonlight" and that he made an album titled "Low" during his Saturn return over his natal moon.


Oh Neptune. Boundless and oceanic, named after the god of the seas. It was discovered in 1846 -- an era marked by an interest in spiritulaism, utopian ideas, and the Califonia gold rush -- a quest to get rich quick by way of ever elusive glittering treasure. It is said that Neptune flickered and faded in and out of view in the lens of the telescope as it was being discovered. Now you see it, now you don't. It's archetypal properties include fantasy, illusion, delusion, salvation, dissolution, enchantments, stardom, glamour and transcendence. Why not Stardust and Glitter too?

Neptune was an important player in the sky that night in London in 1972. It was making some key aspects to points in Bowie's natal chart. It was in the sign of Sagittarius, which is associated with sincerity, travel, religion/philosophy, the priest and the sage and conjunct the highest point in Bowie's chart which is called the Midheaven along with Bowie's natal Venus. The Midheaven denotes one's career or public identity and Venus relates to beauty, values, and relationships. Bowie masterfully used the glamour and illusion of Neptune (along with the Venusian make up, hair dye, and fashion) to construct the public identity within his career as a musician (the Midheaven) of an alien preaching a fiery message (Sagittarius) of stardust and glitter (Neptune) and rock and roll salvation (Neptune again).


The conceptual story behind Bowie's elaborate alter ego had a basis in mythology and religion and majorly expanded Bowie's popularity and success leading to a worldwide tour. Transiting Neptune is also conjunct Bowie's South Node in Sagittarius: Here we have the dissolution (Neptune)of the public identity (Midheaven) of the earnest and sincere folk troubador (Sagittarian South Node) who sang songs about the philosophy of Nietzsche with heavily occult themes (ruling planet Jupiter is in the sign of Scorpio which can relate to the occult) to be replaced with an exploration (Sagittarius) of alternate realities and imaginary characters (Neptune). This was a glittering coming out party for the first in a long line of crafted personas for Bowie and the end of the faux preachy uber-sincerity of the sixties .


And last, but never least is the big gun in the sky. The one they say is no longer a planet. The one that corresponds with themes we like to repress or deny altogether as a culture. Death/rebirth, intensity, the underworld, deep transformative processes, volcanic eruptions, all things taboo, and the soul itself are but a few of the archetypal associations here. Pluto was discovered in 1930 in the era of the rise of fascism and at the discovery of nuclear power through splitting the atom. It is of note that transiting Pluto in Libra is square (that hard 90 degree apsect which represents a challenge or conflict) Bowie's natal Mercury in Capricorn emphasizing communication (Mercury) of powerful taboo subjects (Pluto) through art and fashion (Libra). Bowie's Sun and Mars get pulled in here as well -- artistic transformation (Pluto again) of the traditional male image. Another possibility is that the artist's penetrating mind (Mercury) was up to the challenge (the square aspect) of tapping into the psychic undercurrents (Pluto) which lie beneath polite society (Libra) in his heavily conceptual work to powerful effect.

These are the key outer planetary transits that tell the story of Bowie's first appearance as "not himself "on stage. On the night of Ziggy's debut, the planets, Neptune, Uranus and Pluto were hurling glittering lightning bolts of illusion, fantasy, glamour, rebellion, futurism, gender taboos and transformation into Bowie's ingenious realization of the curious messenger genius chameleon(Gemini and Uranus ) who innovates by communicating his fluidly shifting ideas by shape-shifting into the masks and mouthpieces of various characters -- and at the same time allowing this sense of duality (Gemini) to keep his innermost being safe and protected in the manner of a more outgoing twin.


21st March 2014, 21:53
thanks for posting this dianna,David bowie has been my musical hero since i was 14,when one day my older sister asked me if i would like to borrow an album which i had not heard of called"Hunky dory"..i was just blown away and have loved his music ever since.he was and is a true musical innovator,and what with major tom, loving the alien, and the man who fell to earth,i think he would feel right at home here on avalon,thanks again dianna for this great piece.

21st March 2014, 22:17
Baudrillard: The David Bowie of Philosophy

Perhaps the world's second worst crime is boredom. The first is being a bore.
Jean Baudrillard

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/j/jean_baudrillard.html#krUFz4kLEStSa8Yb.99


Baudrillard is dead at 77: here’s an obituary. The temptation is to Baudrillardize his death, to say it’s a simulation, or that he’s always already been dead so this is a second-order death, or his death provides the rest of us with the illusion that we’re alive. That we can play these games, and that these games can actually mean something, is itself a tribute to Baudrillard. I’ve been thinking about Baudrillard a lot lately: he figured prominently in yesterday’s post, and a new flurry of comments has reactivated this riff about Simulacra and Simulation, its citation of Borges and its citation in The Matrix.

If the texts seem incomprehensible, it is for the excellent reason that they mean precisely nothing, wrote Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont about postmodern theorists. Here’s a sentence they cite from Baudrillard:

Perhaps history itself has to be regarded as a chaotic formation, in which acceleration puts an end to linearity and the turbulence created by acceleration deflects history definitively from its end, just as such turbulence distances effects from their causes.

This text, say Sokal and Bricmont, continues in a gradual crescendo of nonsense. They call attention to the high density of scientific and pseudo-scientific terminology — inserted in sentences that are, as far as we can make out, devoid of meaning.

In summary, one finds in Baudrillard’s works a profusion of scientific terms, used with total disregard for their meaning and, above all, in a context where they are manifestly irrelevant. Whether or not one interprets them as metaphors, it is hard to see what role they could play, except to give an appearance of profundity to trite observations about sociology or history. Moreover, the scientific terminology is mixed up with a non-scientific vocabulary that is employed with equal sloppiness. When all is said and done, one wonders what would be left of Baudrillard’s thought if the verbal veneer covering it were stripped away.

Richard Dawkins wonders about the astruse, nearly-hallucinatory style adopted by so many postmodernists, including Baudrillard:

But don’t the postmodernists claim only to be ‘playing games’? Isn’t the whole point of their philosophy that anything goes, there is no absolute truth, anything written has the same status as anything else, and no point of view is privileged? Given their own standards of relative truth, isn’t it rather unfair to take them to task for fooling around with word games, and playing little jokes on readers? Perhaps, but one is then left wondering why their writings are so stupefyingly boring. Shouldn’t games at least be entertaining, not po-faced, solemn and pretentious? More tellingly, if they are only joking, why do they react with such shrieks of dismay when somebody plays a joke at their expense?

The joke Dawkins alludes to here is the notorious one played by Richard Sokal on a prestigious literary journal in 1996. Sokal, a physicist, wrote an incomprehensible discourse riddled with pomo “metatwaddle.” The essay was accepted by the editorial board and published before Sokal revealed the hoax. Journalist Gary Kamiya wrote a commentary for Salon about the inevitability of a pomo parody like Sokal’s, filled with the pious, obscurantist, jargon-filled cant that now passes for ‘advanced’ thought, is nevertheless complete, unadulterated bull****. Sokal himself wrote a commentary on his pomo adventure, which must eventually have led to his book deal.

And what did Baudrillard himself have to say about the pomo humbug? In a way it was a compliment, he told Steven Poole in an interview that would make a fine elegy to the man Poole called the David Bowie of philosophy. Lecturing a roomful of puzzled London architecture students Baudrillard said, probably with a smile on his face:

Gone is the innocence of nonsense. It is the task of radical thought, since the world is given to us in unintelligibility, to make it more unintelligible, more enigmatic, more fabulous.

21st March 2014, 22:26

Bowie and Nietzsche


I'm closer to the Golden Dawn
Immersed in Crowley's uniform
Of imagery
I'm living in a silent film
Himmler's sacred realm
Of dream reality
I'm frightened by the total goal
Drawing to the ragged hole
And I ain't got the power anymore
No I ain't got the power anymore

I'm the twisted name
On Garbo's eyes
Living proof of
Churchill's lies
I'm destiny
I'm torn between the light and dark
Where others see their targets
Divine symmetry
Should I kiss the viper's fang
Or herald loud
The death of Man
I'm sinking in the quicksand
Of my thought
And I ain't got the power anymore

Don't believe in yourself
Don't deceive with belief
Knowledge comes
With death's release

I'm not a prophet
Or a stone age man
Just a mortal
With the potential of a superman
I'm living on
I'm tethered to the logic
Of Homo Sapien
Can't take my eyes
From the great salvation
Of bull**** faith
If I don't explain what you ought to know
You can tell me all about it
On, the next Bardo
I'm sinking in the quicksand
Of my thought
And I ain't got the power anymore

The song is influenced heavily by Friedrich Nietzsche's philosophy of the Overman/Superman (which is actually mentioned in the song "I'm not a prophet or a stone age man; Just a mortal with the potential of a Superman"), as well as philosophy and ideas emanating from Buddhism. Believe it or not, the song is actually a positive, hopeful song.

Essentially, the song is about moving one's psyche away from that of god-infused egalitarianism, Platonic idealism, asceticism, or any other-worldly idealism or even nihilism and towards that of a purposed existence based on a love of this earth, a love of the world we share, a love for each other, and a love of life at this very moment.

The song is very much about the death of the idealized view we hold of ourselves in our mind's eye and not so much about an actual physical death. The "belief in yourself" he warns against is that of idealizing yourself in an other-worldy sort of way, which is deceiving and misrepresentative of your true nature. Knowledge comes with the freeing of one's mind from the torments of idealization. Everything else will simply follow after this realization.

In the end, a human's nature is exactly what it is. It is readily apparent and does not need to be deconstructed. The non-holistic, reductionist qualities of idealistic philosophies can lead to a sickness of the mind (insanity/introversion derived from being neglectful of the whole of being).


Nietzsche introduces the concept of the Ăśbermensch in contrast to the other-worldliness of Christianity: Zarathustra proclaims the Ăśbermensch to be the meaning of the earth and admonishes his audience to ignore those who promise other-worldly hopes in order to draw them away from the earth. The turn away from the earth is prompted, he says, by a dissatisfaction with life, a dissatisfaction that causes one to create another world in which those who made one unhappy in this life are tormented. The Ăśbermensch is not driven into other worlds away from this one.

The Christian escape from this world also required the invention of an eternal soul which would be separate from the body and survive the body's death. Part of other-worldliness, then, was the denigration and mortification of the body, or asceticism. Zarathustra further links the Ăśbermensch to the body and to interpreting the soul as simply an aspect of the body.

As the drama of Thus Spoke Zarathustra progresses, the turn to metaphysics in philosophy and Platonism in general come to light as manifestations of other-worldliness, as well. Truth and nature are inventions by means of which men escape from this world. The Ăśbermensch is also free from these failings.

The death of God and the creation of new values

Zarathustra ties the Ăśbermensch to the death of God. While this God was the ultimate expression of other-worldly values and the instincts that gave birth to those values, belief in that God nevertheless did give life meaning for a time. God is dead means that the idea of God can no longer provide values. With the sole source of values no longer capable of providing those values, there is a real danger of nihilism.

Zarathustra presents the Ăśbermensch as the creator of new values. In this way, it appears as a solution to the problem of the death of God and nihilism. Because the Ăśbermensch acts to create new values within the moral vacuum of nihilism, there is nothing that this creative act would not justify. Alternatively, in the absence of this creation, there are no grounds upon which to criticize or justify any action, including the particular values created and the means by which they are promulgated.

In order to avoid a relapse into Platonic Idealism or asceticism, the creation of these new values cannot be motivated by the same instincts that gave birth to those tables of values. Instead, they must be motivated by a love of this world and of life. Whereas Nietzsche diagnosed the Christian value system as a reaction against life and hence destructive in a sense, the new values which the Ăśbermensch will be responsible for will be life-affirming and creative."

17th June 2014, 22:29
Defending The Indefensible: David Bowie’s Eighties Career


Are you a Bowie fan?

As a dedicated Bowie fan myself, I know that you’re more likely than not to cite an album like “Low” or “Hunky Dory” as favorite. Certainly not “Let’s Dance”. You might even prefer to think that an inferior clone stood in for Bowie from 1981 to 1986 while he went back to Berlin to do more heroin and pretend he was a wizard.


That disdain is a fine example of how we condemn him for continuing the chameleon-like musical career that made him so well known while we praise him for it, and resent his success while bemoaning the lack of “good” music on the radio. Then we’ll turn around and praise the pop sensibilities of whatever ash-choked miserablist steps out of the local college rock station toting a guitar and a properly surly attitude.

That’s too bad, because this period in Bowie’s is much, much better than you remember. The Thin White Duke said, “I see that you like pop. I can make that happen. Be back in a jiff with about half a dozen songs that will echo about in your brain forever.” Cheeseball as his suit might have been (funny how most of us write a pass for David Byrne, by the way), the guy rocked the eighties without missing a beat, and most of us serious Bowie fans seem to hate him for it.

To be absolutely fair, no matter how much some of us hated Bowie for the album, he hated himself even more and felt contempt for the audience “Let’s Dance” brought him:

“I remember looking out over these waves of people [who were coming to hear this record played live] and thinking, ‘I wonder how many Velvet Underground albums these people have in their record collections?’ I suddenly felt very apart from my audience. And it was depressing, because I didn’t know what they wanted.”


I wonder how much his core audience’s scorn played in Bowie’s self-loathing, and if any of us – or Bowie – ever considered that “Lets Dance” might have been the open vault door that some people needed to plunder the richest of his back catalogue and become lifelong fans, and that some of those people might have gone on to buy a few Velvet Underground records to boot.


“Cat People”, “Loving The Alien”, “Modern Love”, “Let’s Dance”, “China Girl” (lest you forget, this was written during the Berlin Trilogy days with Iggy Pop when they were both strung out on coke and smack), and plenty of deep cuts showed that Bowie could still slip out of the stifling shadow of his “artiste” reputation and rock the Top Forty with one hand behind his back and a cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth. These were eye-openers to many fans, and probably continue to be so.

They’re also damned good songs on their own, and smarter than you might recall.


“China Girl” personifies the objectification of Asian women by white men commonly known as “Yellow Fever”, and then turns that objectification back on the protagonist of the song:


I stumble into town just like a sacred cow
Visions of swasticas in my head
Plans for everyone
It’s in the white of my eyes
My little China girl
You shouldn’t mess with me
I’ll ruin everything you are
I’ll give you television
I’ll give you eyes of blue
I’ll give you men who want to rule the world

Yes, they’re also big, bombastic, dance-friendly hits, but really, it’s okay to have fun sometimes, and if some of us know that already, then maybe we should extend

18th June 2014, 01:22
Thanks for this thread. I don't want to be über-picky here, but Übermensch is the correct spelling.
Trust me on that.

If there ever was an Übermensch, David Bowie is it. And this goes for Iman as well.
Esthetics personified.

On my last trip to Mustique (in 1988) my friend and host Arne Hasselqvist showed me the corner of his garden where he would be building David's house; a slightly smaller version of his own house Shogun. Apparently there were no more parcels of land left on the island so David would have to share.
I got to see the house only in pictures, it was featured in Arquitectural Digest ....because I never visited the Hasselqvist home again.
There was a tragedy...quite terrible. Arne and his son Lucas both died in a fire- while building a hotel in the Bahamas.
Arne's office, a wooden hut on the construction site had started to burn, and when everyone was already outside and safe Arne suddenly remembered his computer, all his work was on it... so he ran back in to get It. When he didn't come out his son Lucas ran in after him, and also became a victim of the flames. I don't know what became of Anita, the wife and mother. This was one of the worst tragedies ever to befall friends of mine.
Their home Shogun was offered for rent online, available at the modest sum of $40,000 per week.

Entrance to David Bowie's Mustique home


18th June 2014, 01:31
OK, I figured it out. Found this website just now. It says "Bowie old house in Mustique" and shows Arne and Anita's living room, minus the Japanese mats.
In other words, David must have bought Shogun. The lot of it.