STARMAN, REBEL, HERO
There’s a starman waiting in the sky
He’d like to come and meet us
But he thinks he’d blow our minds
And blow our minds you did, Mr. Bowie.
Up until his untimely death one year ago today, David Bowie never stopped challenging us: he flitted effortlessly between platinum-selling rock star as his self-sculpted andro-glam character Ziggy Stardust, to actor extraordinaire as his peasant-blouse wearing, bulge-tastic Goblin King in the Labrinyth.
He worked as an ad man, nearly became a Buddhist monk, inadvertently advanced (if not directly advocated for) the discussion of gender and sexual identity, created a puppet show theater, studied as a mime, and even set up a company providing internet service (called Bowienet, no less!).
And there was other stuff too; drug addictions, a brother lost to suicide and a string of artistic frustrations.
Here is the birth chart and asteroids for David Bowie: Starman, Rebel & Hero.
THE BIRTH CHART & ASTEROIDS OF DAVID BOWIE
David Bowie (né David Robert Jones): DOB 8th January 1947 at 9:00 am in Brixton, England
The Bowie Birth Chart
12th House Sun, Mars, Mercury
Bowie’s birth chart is almost as fascinating as the man himself was.
For starters, he is an excellent example of a 12th House Sun. Most folks that begin their studies in Astrology practically hemorrhage when they realize that they have the Sun or other natal planets in the 12th, and it can be a hard house to wrap our minds around.
Admittedly, this area of the chart is not a fun place. The 12th House is dark: originally referred to as the ‘House of Bad Fortune’, the 12th has a reputation for illness, disease, addiction, incarceration, institutionalization, hidden enemies, scandals, and ‘the self-undoing.’ Modern astrologers often attribute it with obliquely spiritual references like ‘mysticism’ and ‘the unconscious’, and while I think that some of that can be true, the journey we make spiritually via the 12th House is often fraught with considerable challenge.
Others infer that 12th House people can be ‘bodhisattvas’, enlightened individuals that choose to return to our Earth to be of service to others. Although David would have likely shrugged off the grandiosity of this implication, given that he once said he hopes people remember him only as having had great haircuts, you have to admit there’s a ring to ‘Bodhisattva Bowie’.
At the very minimum, people with 12th House planets, particularly the Sun and Moon, have a need to face their demons; the rest of the chart serves to tell us whether or not the person has the gumption to grow past their 12th House planets.
There’s also an uncanny tendency for 12th House folks to transmute their pain into art, with mesmerizing results.
If all David Bowie makes you think about is his many garment ch-ch-changes, you may not know that his father died while he was young, his uncle was institutionalized, and his brother Terry committed suicide after a long struggle with paranoid schizophrenia. Bowie also fell into heavy drug use and addiction in the 70’s and suffered a number of scandals throughout his career: most notably his statement that he was gay or bisexual, an unprecedented move for a celebrity at that time, which Bowie later said was the biggest mistake he ever made.
About some of these issues, we have some interesting astrological connections.
Mars as the ruler of his 3rd House, which concerns siblings as well as aunts and uncles, is found in the 12th House tightly conjoined his natal Sun. Mars here is exalted in the sign of Capricorn but slightly weakened by its position in the 12th House and ‘under the sun’s beams’, which can debilitate a planet’s effectiveness.
As Mars also rules his 10th House of Career, we can see the drive and stamina for achievement that makes an average Brixton boy say he ‘wants to be the biggest rock star in England’. Certainly, Mars in the 12th House can be a potent indicator for substance abuse issues, and here, we can assume that the intense drive of Mars in Capricorn powered both his rise to fame as well as his addictions.
Bowie’s 10th House Chiron (wounds) also relate to the 12th House/Mars, and the interpretations could range from his public drug arrest with Iggy Pop, his cocaine addiction, the scandal (12th House) of his sexual identity (Mars & Scorpio both with connections to sex), or accusations he received about sexual abuse (12th House/Mars/Scorpio).
Mercury in the 12th House, which rules his 8th House of mental anguish (amongst other topics) and his 5th House of lovers/romance likely describes both his fear of his family’s history of mental illness and the suffering he experienced throughout his career because of his then-taboo sexual identity. Interestingly, Mercury is conjunct the asteroid ‘Achilles’ and ‘Lacrimosa’ (tears) and with Mercury’s connection to siblings, there’s a poignant note here about the loss of his brother, as well as the general state of his own mental balance.
Eventually, David Bowie grappled with all of his demons in a protracted, self-imposed exile in Berlin, followed by a stint in a Buddhist monastery in Scotland.
About that time, he said: “[…] I was going through a lot of really bad, dark, negative, nasty, nasty black shit—it was horrible—and I wrote this song, “Station to Station” about this particular period because it was so tied to Cabalism and magic and all that. It was just horrible. I was really falling into an abyss. That was a make or break point of my life. I could’ve died through that. I was in terrible, serious physical decline through drugs. I was just out of my mind.”
During that period in 1976, Bowie’s progressed Moon was in the 8th House, a notoriously emotionally raw place as it concerns mental anguish and even death; transiting Uranus (trauma, breakdowns) moved back and forth across his 10th House (Career) Chiron (pain, wounds); transiting Pluto (obsession, control) moved over his natal Neptune (falls from grace) in the 9th House of publishing/media/foreign places; transiting Saturn was moving between his 6th House (health, illness) and the start of his 7th House (marriage, the public), where his Moon (the body) sits.
The Makings of a Star
David Bowie famously said, “I’m an instant star, just add water.”
I’m certainly not contesting that – even in his early snaggle-toothed days the boy had a certain je ne sais quoi.
There are a number of points in his chart that portend a big, wide-reaching creative career that thrives on innovation, shock, and awe.
First off, he has Jupiter, the gift-giving planet of the zodiac in his 10th House of Career, expanding the entire house and imbuing it with a dash of Jovian luck. In the sign of Scorpio, there’s a tendency towards transformation, death/rebirth as well as patience and perseverance.
With any performer, you naturally assume there might be at least a little sprinkling of Leo in the chart, and Bowie has Pluto (control/obsession/transformation), Saturn (authority/discipline) and the Moon (emotions/fulfillment/the body) all in the lion sign. They’re in the 7th House of marriage partners, so some of these themes will naturally pop up in relationships, but the 7th House also talks about ‘other people’ as well as the greater public. Saturn and Pluto aren’t the friendliest of creatures to embody how we interact with others, but on the other hand, what big celebrity doesn’t drum up, or even court, a bit of controversy?
A fascinating asteroid-planet combo comes in the 5th House of creativity. With Uranus here, I would already be envisioning a creative misfit that approaches lovers, romance, and creative projects with the thought, “How can I shake this up? How can I do this differently?” Bowie’s Uranus is conjunct one of my favorite asteroids, Fama (408), which I’m quickly beginning to understand is an asteroid that we can associate with cultural icons (Muhammad Ali also his this asteroid placed prominently).
Quite literally, the interpretation here becomes:
famous + scandalous + creative + sexual + art + rebellion = Bowie.
We also find the North Node in the 5th House, which as a point in our charts can describe where we are being pulled towards in this lifetime. It should be no surprise that Bowie’s North Node is in the 5th House of creativity/sex/lovers with Uranus, and in the sign of Gemini no less, a sign about communication and dissemination as well as duality.
Bowie’s Midheaven, a career point within the chart, is also well-placed with Venus (love, money, beauty, art) straddling it, a trine from the Moon, adding fertility to the career, and a sextile from asteroid Pallas-Athena, which adds a dimension of creative intelligence, married with strategy.
Pallas-Athena is very active in Bowie’s chart. Mostly, Pallas-Athena is associated with strategic thinking, cunning, and healing, but she also has serious connections to androgyny, which David Bowie was famous for throughout the heyday of his musical career as he played the part of Ziggy Stardust, Halloween Jack, and The Thin White Duke. With Pallas right on top of the Ascendant, she affects how he looks as well as how others perceive him. Funny, that.
Pallas’ opposition to the Moon suggests a division between mind and feelings, or even what we want in our hearts versus what we feel we need to achieve; with a sextile to Venus, “the individual may be androgynous and experience ease in a variety of sexual interactions” (Demetra George); with a sextile to Vesta, these individuals make talented and dedicated healers, artists, and advocates.
A Handful of Asteroids
Bowie’s chart has a number of interesting asteroid placements.
Alongside Pallas-Athena on the ascendant, we find Amicitia (friendliness) and Hilaritas (sense of humor, hilarious).
This one I love: Bowie’s long-time assistant Corinne, ‘Coco’, who he left $2 Million to and whom he called his best friend and greatest confidante, is right smack on top of his IC. In a word, Coco was like home for him.
Some may not know this, but there is an asteroid ‘Davidbowie’ – it’s in his 10th House of career at 17°29″ of Scorpio, and perfectly sextiles his Sun; just next to it is Felicitas (happiness). On the day that David Jones changed his name to David Bowie – ta-da! – transiting asteroid ‘Davidbowie’ was perfectly conjunct the natal position of the same.
Asteroid Juno, goddess of marriage, is conjunct his South Node. The South Node can talk about where we get depleted, or karmically what we already know how to do. Unfortunately, there are no asteroids for Angela or Iman, his two wives. Angela’s proper first name Mary (asteroid 2779) shows up in the 2nd House but makes no aspects so I consider this one a dud; Iman means “faith” in Arabic, so I checked asteroids Fides (37, faith/trust) as well as Fidelio (524, fidelity). Fides does show up in the 7th House of marriage partners but is still too loose a connection for serious consideration.
Asteroid Duncan, the name of Bowie’s first child is found directly across from his Sun, in the 6th House. His daughter Alexandra is nicely positioned in his 11th House of friends, and near his natal Venus.
Conjunct Bowie’s 5th House North Node is asteroid Sisyphus. My view is that this is about never giving up, and never being satisfied in one’s creative endeavors; needing to continually scale a creative mountain of sorts. Asteroid Medusa, as in the snake-haired lady that turns men to stone, is also conjunct the North Node.
Conjunct his Venus/Midheaven combination is asteroid Adorea; we could interpret this as meaning he is adored in his career (…which is basically true).
His Mars is conjunct Eos, a goddess that was poisoned by Aphrodite with an insatiable sex appetite….me-owwww. Asteroid Eros (sexual love) is loosely conjunct Chiron (pain).