Frank C Clifford – The Twilight Zone first airs on TV

October 2, 1959; 10:00 p.m. EDT; New York, NY

The Twilight Zone was a seminal show on American television, considered the most influential sci-fi anthology series of all time. Its 156 eerie episodes fused science fiction, fantasy, and metaphysics with a unique brand of paranormal and psychological horror. The show has often been described as “Kafkaesque,” after the surreal, labyrinthine themes in the works of novelist Franz Kafka (born with Mercury conjunct Venus at 19° Gemini). Chart 1 is set for the moment the show first aired. [1] Three features stand out:

1. Four planets are in Libra, including the luminaries and chart ruler Mercury.

Libra is a sign focused on the delicate, often impossible balancing act of making a fair decision, doing the right thing, and keeping others happy in the process. It can concern itself with being blamed for getting it wrong, as Richard Swatton points out: “The root of Libra’s famous indecisiveness is the fear of punishment following some kind of cosmic judgement.” [2] Often The Twilight Zone asked us to consider what we’d do if we had to walk in its protagonist’s shoes. How would we make up our own mind when faced with impossible, complex choices? Libra is also the symbolic bridge (and bridge-builder); its stage in the zodiac indicates where we encounter “the other” and suggests how such an acknowledgement of this “other” can define and refine the perception we have of ourselves.

2. The dispositor of the Libra stellium is Venus, which has a strong Pluto/Scorpio flavour (it is conjunct Pluto in Virgo and square Jupiter at the final degree of Scorpio).

The show’s mystery fables were metaphors and allegories – unsettling, disturbing morality tales – with plot twists, warped realities, and surprise endings. Viewers were invited to peer into a “fifth dimension,” where the inexplicable often remained so.

3. There is a predominance of air and a scarcity of planets in fire.

It was a cerebral, sociological show that took the viewer into “a dimension of mind” (air), where characters were devoid/robbed of faith and trust, or faced bleak fates (negative traits linked to a lack of fire) and encountered a less civilised facet of the human condition (the antithesis of air/Libra).

The show was created and hosted by Rod Serling. The information from his recently traced birth certificate [3] produces a chart with Saturn rising in Scorpio and Neptune on the Midheaven (MC); both are apt placements, considering the themes of his best-known show. (See second chart.) Interestingly, Serling has no planets in air, his chart being mainly fire and earth. His Sun is conjunct both Jupiter and a retrograde Mercury in Capricorn – descriptive of his adventurous, creative explorations. (Mercury retrograde is found so often in the charts of gifted thinkers and wordsmiths, we can surmise that this position reflects an ability for divergent thinking.)

When Serling moved into television writing, he became known as the “angry young man” of Hollywood, a pugnacious writer clashing with his bosses, censors, and sponsors – note the Mars–Saturn overtone, which includes three Capricorn planets in square to Mars in Aries. Before The Twilight Zone, his Mercury in Capricorn (disposited by Saturn rising in Scorpio) had already “shown up” in the titles of his two Emmy award–winning teleplays, Patterns (1955) and Requiem for a Heavyweight (broadcast on October 11, 1956, as transiting Uranus reached Serling’s 10th Equal House cusp).

A pilot for a time-travel TV show, The Time Element, was Serling’s original pitch for a sci-fi series. Serling knew that through allegory he could explore social and moral issues (Capricorn) and slip past the 1950 TV censors (Mercury opposite Pluto). After the pilot aired on November 24, 1958, to overwhelmingly positive reviews (with both transiting Uranus and Solar Arc Pluto conjunct his natal MC), his life changed forever. CBS contacted Serling and commissioned The Twilight Zone. The first season coincided with Saturn entering Capricorn and heading over Serling’s Jupiter–Sun–Mercury conjunction, along with Neptune transiting over his natal Ascendant.

But what else speaks of Capricorn? Serling certainly drove himself to achieve and did battle with the Capricorn “system,” but he also tapped into a mystical, hidden side of the sign that is rarely discussed. Liz Greene, in Astrology for Lovers, reminds us that Capricorn is not a mountain goat but a sea goat with a tail that’s a cross between a fish and a serpent:

If we look at ancient symbolism, we find that the serpent is one of the oldest representations for instinctual wisdom and the secrets of the earth itself. And the fish is also a creature that swims in the depths of the unknown waters of the psyche. [Capricorn] is also, in his secret heart, a kind of magician, a seeker after mysteries. [4]

 

References and Notes

1. Although the series was filmed in Culver City, California, those on the East Coast were the first to see the show on the evening of October 2, 1959. The chart could be cast for any location in Eastern Time, but I’ve chosen New York because it’s the location of the show’s broadcaster, CBS.

2. Richard Swatton, From Symbol to Substance: Training the Astrological Intuition, Flare Publications, 2012, p. 23.

3. I’m indebted to Glen Olson for tracking down Serling’s birth certificate from the county records office in Syracuse specifically for this article. Rodman Edward Serling was born December 25, 1924 at 3:07 a.m. EST in the Hospital of the Good Shepherd, Syracuse, New York (43°N03^, 76°W09^).

4. Liz Greene, Astrology for Lovers, Samuel Weiser, 1990, p. 197.

First published in The Mountain Astrologer, February–March 2018 issue.

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