We live in interesting and polarizing times. Many live in fear of speaking out, while others feel compelled to express themselves regardless of possible sanctions. In the birth chart, Uranus shows where, if ever, we dare to protest, put our head above the parapet, and stand up to be counted – often unaccompanied and unsupported. Uranus is prominent in those who are catalysts for change, who incite rebellion, or wake people up to a new or forgotten way of thinking. In our horoscopes, it also shows where we get punished or “castrated” for shaking things up, and the reasons why we might be cast out or banned from a group.
It is said that, over time, Uranus “becomes” Saturn; what was revolutionary or cutting edge becomes mainstream; and what was once marginalized eventually becomes integrated into the “system.” This may be a necessary part of the process. Uranus takes on the establishment, tears up the rulebook, is ostracized and blacklisted. But the resulting shake-up and backlash is often necessary to eventually vanquish the prejudice that Uranus was highlighting in the first place. A Uranian personality sharply divides opinion, and the irony is that a strong Uranus is found in the charts of “freethinkers” and other “revolutionaries” at both ends of the political spectrum (from those advocating equal rights to those calling for racist, homophobic or bigoted measures). The strongly Uranian personality is often intolerant of intolerance, which makes him equally intolerant!
But when looking at the horoscopes of those who put themselves on the line, is Uranus always the culprit? What other planets or signs are associated with standing up, objecting to or fighting the establishment? The signs Sagittarius and Aquarius need to exclaim, “The Emperor’s got no clothes on!” What is it about these signs that wish to pursue human rights and have others recognize these measures, too? Sagittarius is intent on shooting down hypocrisy and has a strong sense of moral outrage, while Aquarius is obsessed with fairness and its own idealistic aspirations. Of the two, evangelical Sagittarius is more likely to reach out and change the world because its mutability and links with Jupiter suggest an ability to connect to others and generate attention and publicity. Aquarius, on the other hand, offers the socialist ideology behind such change; but, being a fixed sign and linked to Saturn, it is resistant to any change not in its immediate control. Aquarius has a worldview that is often progressive or “different” from that of the crowd’s; and, melded with personal convictions — Aquarius is quite convinced of its own “rightness,” this makes for a strong visionary. But unless Uranus is strong, Aquarius will not be an active, mould-breaking revolutionary.
In this issue, I’m looking at the charts of three people who have stepped up, spoken out and made change – often causing outrage, too.
PETER TATCHELL (previous chart) is the well-known, fearless gay rights and political activist based in the UK. He has been labelled a “homosexual terrorist,” a “fascist,” a “national hero” and “a civil rights campaigner we can all applaud.” He has campaigned for sexual freedom and human rights in the UK since 1969, the year he came out following the Stonewall Riots in New York City. Tatchell’s efforts through campaigns with OutRage! (founded on May 10, 1990, during a tight Venus–Jupiter–Uranus T-square) and the Gay Liberation Front have helped to change public opinion, overturn homophobic discrimination, lift the ban on gays in the military, and equalize the age of consent in the UK. Tatchell is famous for disrupting events with daring and irreverent protests (Jupiter in Aries squares Uranus in the 7th) and exposing homophobic public figures, from Hans Eysenck to Mike Tyson to the Archbishop of Canterbury. The latter incident took place on Easter Sunday (April 12) 1998, when he confronted the Archbishop and shamed him into toning down his public advocacy of gay discrimination. Although Tatchell has been arrested over 300 times, and faced much abuse and physical violence, he was vilified to an extreme extent in 1994–5 when he worked to “out” various political and religious figures who he accused of hypocritically attacking the gay community. (Note the Sun in Aquarius is in tight square to Mars in Scorpio.) Tatchell made headlines when he was beaten unconscious while attempting to place Robert Mugabe under citizen’s arrest on March 5, 2001, after having failed previously on October 30, 1999.
In Tatchell’s chart, Venus rises in Sagittarius. Both Venus and the Ascendant are in quindecile aspect to Uranus in the 7th. Not an aspect I automatically consider, the quindecile (165°) is linked to upheaval and obsession – and appears to be apt in Tatchell’s case. Uranus opposes Mercury and both are square to Saturn in Libra: Tatchell has spoken out against the lack of equal human rights in the system and often swam against the tide of injustice.
“Rejecting queer conformity to straight institutions and the goal of mere legal equality, [Tatchell] advocates the transformation of society to create a sexpositive and human rights culture that will benefit everyone, both gay and straight.”
An unpaid and tireless worker, Tatchell survives on $12,000 a year. Speaking his Mercury–Saturn–Uranus (with Jupiter, it is a Grand Cross), he has said, “I see direct action shock tactics as having a useful cathartic and catalytic effect. They help to break silence and invisibility, and force open previously closed doors and closed minds.” The secret of his longevity as a high profile campaigner? “[It’s] the result of my passion, creativity and persistent determination to challenge injustice. I never take no for an answer. The word ‘impossible’ does not exist in my vocabulary.”
(All quotes are from his website)
Peter Tatchell, born January 25, 1952 at 02:30 AEST (–10), Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (37s49, 144e58). Source: From Tatchell to Sy Scholfield (see <http://astroqueer.tripod.com/charts/activists/petertatchell.html>). RR: A. Asc: 25 Sagittarius.
“I’m not saying religion doesn’t have its uses. Personally, I turn to it whenever I want my intelligence insulted… And the Holy Scriptures come in very handy when I need to justify behaviour I’m ashamed of.” – Pat Condell
In the past five years, former standup comedian PAT CONDELL (chart on previous page) has outraged many corners of the Muslim world. In a series of articulate but hard-hitting, provocative YouTube videos (comprising over one hundred monologues), he has challenged religion and the beliefs of religious zealots. To many, he is an intolerant, ignorant bigot and xenophobe who incites racial hatred. To others, he is the daring voice of rational atheism in a society where political correctness (Saturn) has run riot. Perhaps in an attempt to show the irrationality of those who condemn his views, his website chronicles the various death threats and abuse he has received from YouTube viewers.
Condell’s issue is not with God, he says, but with religious dogma and “the ones who take it upon themselves to police the rest of us on his behalf.” Since early 2007, in a bid to avoid perceived censorship of the BBC, his main target has been Islam, which he says, “…now controls a large mass of volatile primitive opinion which is quick to take offence and easily moved to senseless violence.”
The son of a compulsive gambler who worked in a betting shop, Condell was raised Roman Catholic and soon became aware of “the gulf between what people profess to believe and how they actually behave.” Condell fell into comedy in the 1980s, gigged over two hundred times a year, and by 1991 had won the Time Out Comedy Award.
Condell’s chart includes the Moon in Sagittarius widely opposed Uranus, with the MC as the apex. But, Uranus is not the dominant player in his chart. Most apparent is the Sun–Mercury conjunction at 29° Scorpio, which has risen into the 12th House but is conjunct the Ascendant in Sagittarius. (Despite opinions to the contrary, I’ve noticed that planets that have risen into the 12th House, particularly the Sun, are aspects of our nature that are highly conspicuous to others.) The Sun–Mercury conjunction is a testament to the power of the final degree of any sign: in Scorpio it is descriptive of the political edge and satirical “bite” of Condell’s message (Sun–Mercury), as well as the extreme reactions he has provoked in others.
(All quotes are from his website, www.patcondell.net) Note: The data (given by Condell to the author) has been withheld by request. Pat Condell appeared open to astrology but asked that his data not be published.
The third, very individual person compelled to speak out is norrie mAy-welby,(chart on this page) a transgender activist in Australia. (The chart and profile are presented in a piece by Sy Scholfield to be published in The Astrological Journal later this year. Sy was able to confirm the data by contacting norrie personally. For more information, please see www.syscholfield.com and http://astroqueer.tripod.com/charts/activists/norrie.html.)
In February 2010, transgender and intersex rights activist norrie mAy-welby became the first person in the world to be recognized as hormonally, psychologically, and physically neither male nor female. Issued with a certificate from the New South Wales government in Australia that stated “not specified” in the gender box, mAy-welby made history. Although the certificate was later cancelled, the activist has since become a leading figure in the fight for recognition and equality. mAy-welby campaigns for the use of genderneutral pronouns like “zie” and “hir.” Born with Uranus on the Ascendant, an exact Mars/Neptune square, and the androgynous, hermaphroditic Mercury signs prominent, norrie was born male and underwent reassignment surgery on April 3, 1989. Within a year zie was gang-raped by a group of men, and later found that being a woman was not what zie felt like either. The Neptune in Scorpio in the 3rd house (by Equal) suggests how elusive the official gender classification on paper has proven to be (note Saturn at the final degree of “admin red-tape” Capricorn and square to the MC). Gemini lives with duality and contradictions, and the Sun in Gemini is at the midpoint/“bendings” of the nodal axis, suggesting the prominent spotlight under which norrie has found hirself.
norrie mAy-welby, born May 23, 1961 at 11:01 BST (-1), Paisley, Scotland (55n50, 4w26). Source: Caroline Gerard quotes data from birth certificate. (Sy Scholfield quotes norrie hirself, who confirmed hir birth time by email.) RR: AA. Asc: 18 Leo.
Frank Clifford is an astrologer and palmist, and the author of a dozen books on these subjects, including Getting to the Heart of Your Chart: Playing Astrological Detective (2012), Solar Arc Directions (2011) and Palmistry 4 Today (2010). His books are available via the AFA and Amazon. He writes the “Horoscope Detective” column in The Mountain Astrologer, you can see his website here, and he can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.