So much Love to make up, everywhere you turn,
Love we have wasted on the way . . .
— Graham Nash
Playboy magnate Hugh Hefner passed away due to natural causes on September 27, 2017, at the age of 91. His date of birth was April 9, 1926, making him an Aries Sun.
Hefner was definitely a polarizing character, so I wanted to look at this chart to try to understand who he was and why, from an astrological perspective, he provoked such strong responses from people.
What I see first is that Hugh Hefner was an Instigator (Aries Sun), with the soul of a Dreamer (Pisces Moon), wearing the mask of the Perfectionist (Virgo Ascendant).
I guess I could say Hefner was an Illusionist rather than a Dreamer for that Pisces moon, but I don’t think it’s beneficial to assume the worst about people right up front. I don’t like it when people do that to me, so . . . the Golden Rule.
With a 7th house like he had, (Sun plus Mercury/Uranus on the Descendant), Hefner seemed to be modeling the Aquarian relationships of the future for us. The energy and expansiveness of his Mars and Jupiter in Aquarius/5th house supports that idea too. He certainly had no shame about who he was. Hefner loved sci-fi, and I read somewhere that he was acquainted with Robert A. Heinlein. Hefner’s intimate relationship landscape did kind of look like Stranger in a Strange Land.
But the Pisces/Virgo “Force” is also strong with this one. He was emotionally driven to merge with women and do so routinely. It looks to me from this chart as if sex actually was a spiritual thing for him. With an exalted Venus in Pisces like Hefner had, women can be viewed as goddesses on some level.
It’s kind of funny, though, that Jupiter is standing between Mars and Juno in Aquarius/5th. Juno is a jealous wife. I believe that Juno would like to hit Mars over the head with a frying pan, but Mars is standing safely out of reach. Expansive Jupiter is ready to embrace Juno, but she’s not quite there yet. Almost, but not quite.
Hefner wasn’t cut out in this life to be a family man. His Fate was to be a public person, and he certainly achieved that. Becoming deeply involved in family matters and tending to familial duties was in this life a bottomless pit for him. But he’d learned something in past lives about creating close family-like bonds along his fated journey that needed to be shared in this life with the public.
The role reversal between those two signs as related to the houses here is interesting. The 4th house traditionally belongs to the Moon and Cancer (women); it’s private; here, it’s on the midheaven (top, public sector) of his chart. The 10th house traditionally belongs to the Sun and Capricorn (men); it’s public; here, it’s on the nadir, the most private sector of a chart.
From a karmic standpoint, this chart tells me that he came into this life with a powerful role to play in cleansing and transforming the world’s relationship with the Divine Feminine. But there was also going to be a lot of public trauma surrounding this topic no matter how he played it.
Table flip, anyone?
“When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain,
in midst of other woe than ours,
a friend to man,
to whom thou sayst,
Beauty is truth, truth beauty, that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”–John Keats
I see in this chart a Saturnian and Scorpionic duty to dig deeply in the realms of the Mind for perspective into subjects that are taboo, particularly his own orientation to polyamory. Had he done this, he would have, I think, in time become a respected authority, sharing and modeling what he was learning with the world in an intelligent way.
Eric Francis, astrologer and Renaissance man at Planet Waves, has written about the connection between Scorpio and polyamory.
Though I think Hefner really did love the Feminine, he also needed to cleanse and mature his own perceptions about women. Instead, he got caught up in selling his idealized, immature illusions and fantasies about beauty rather than studying the depth and truth of it. That Saturnian work, done with attention to duty and fierce integrity, would have matured his perspective.
Hefner’s Neptune squares Saturn and opposes Mars and Jupiter. This gives me a mental picture of him wearing a hair shirt and sandpaper skivvies under his silk pajamas. I think that at least subconsciously, he knew that he needed to help raise everyone’s vibration around all that is Feminine.
But he didn’t fulfill that duty. Why?
The face that Hefner showed to the world on his ascendant was Virgoan, and Virgo is related to the quest for perfection. Virgo can be super-critical. She wants to list out for you all of the reasons why your ideas won’t work.
Virgo is expressed interestingly in Hefner’s preferred wardrobe. He really did, to my eye, always look natty and gentlemanly in his silk robe and PJs. That’s another clue: Virgo is fastidious. Don’t touch her hair. Don’t move that thing from where she had it perfectly placed. She orders the wind to stop blowing because it’s making her eyes water and her mascara is running. And certainly don’t go digging deep for anything. You’re going to get dirty.
Hefner’s quest would have been ennobled, in my view, if he had directed his energy toward respect and love for The Great Mother, meaning The Goddess as represented by all women. His Cancer midheaven is, for me, a big clue about that. It’s like a cosmic 2×4 smacking the public upside the head. But instead, the 11th house in his chart describes him making making his fortune by feeding illusions and fantasies to the collective, using, of course, the vehicle of Playboy. And the medium became the message.
It looks to me that if an aspect of the Feminine didn’t fit Hefner’s exalted ideal of goddess-like perfection, his Pluto drove him to control the image. If he couldn’t control the image, he marginalized it. So Dark Moon Lilith in Hefner’s chart, the nasty woman, is hidden away in the 12th house. Out of sight, out of mind.
So Hefner’s Ascendant, the Virgoan quest for feminine perfection, basically ate him alive. In a way, Hefner’s karma was like an alien gestating in his torso. And when it came to maturity, it burst out onto the collective (11th house).
I know I’m drawing a broad generalization here, but the Pluto in Cancer and Pluto in Leo generations felt entitled for a number of reasons to that illusion of perfection that Hefner was selling. Watching a few episodes of the AMC series Mad Men will show you a fairly accurate view of what that male entitlement story looks like.
When I was growing up in the ’60s and ’70s, it was pretty much a given that men of my dad’s generation often kept a stack of Playboy mags in the tool shed. They’d go out there and immerse themselves in some fantasy and illusion for a while when the shit happening inside the house with the women got a little too real for them.
The males of Hefner’s time weren’t quite ready to cannonball into the pool and meet the polyamorous future Hefner envisioned. They just dipped their toes in it. But I suspect that Pluto in Leo’s opposite–the upcoming Pluto in Aquarius generation that will be born between roughly 2024 and 2040–when they mature, I think they will be ready for Hefner’s futuristic vision of intimate relationships.
I’m seeing a lot of articles right now talking about Hefner’s “dark side.” And, of course, he did have one. We all do.
There are many stories out there about Hefner and nonconsensual sex as well as how he influenced others to engage in nonconsensual sex with others. And I do mean by that, “rape.” When you sneeze your evolutionary issues onto an entire collective without covering your mouth, a large part of the collective catches a cold, so to speak.
Both hardcore feminists and Christian conservatives alike rage against what Hefner represents.
I understand why Christian conservatives dislike Hugh Hefner. There’s not really much I can say to that. The Age of Pisces is drawing to a close. Sexual mores are changing. The future (Aquarius) is coming. It’s a waste of energy to scream about the inevitable.
What intrigues me far more is the feminist response to Hefner. They, in my view, have a far more interesting and compelling reason to be angry with Hefner and Playboy.
You see, Hugh Hefner had a high calling and a sacred duty to all women, and he failed us.
This all reminds me of a short story I read once, where a young man who’d died was making his way through the Bardo, and a wise man warned him that no matter what he saw happening at the side of the road, he should keep to the path and not to stop to gawk. It looks to me like Hefner stopped and gawked. It looks like a case of arrested development.
* * *
So Hefner had Eris exact on the Aries point, 0 Aries, right between Uranus conjunct the Descendant in late Pisces and Mercury in Aries/7th house. Eris reentered Hefner’s sun sign, Aries, on Valentine’s Day 1926, just a few short weeks before his birth.
Vesta, the sacred flame, is interestingly at 0 Cancer in the 10th house. Again, Cancer speaks to me of women and, especially, The Great Mother, the Goddess. Vesta in Cancer and Eris in Aries are at cross-purposes with each other, but Vesta is the celebrity here, up on the Midheaven. So Eris makes sure she crosses paths with Vesta, and then Eris throws a shoulder block at Vesta as she walks on by. Pallas–Creative Intelligence–stands behind Vesta and is ready to catch Vesta when she stumbles from Eris’s shoulder block.
My chart software doesn’t give me the option to add Eris, so once again Eris isn’t invited to the party. I tinkered with a screen shot of the chart and snuck her in, though. 😀
Eris is a provocateur. Her name, translated from the Greek, means “strife,” and that aptly describes the whole Venus and Mars thing. Eris never gets invited to the party because, as all the gods knew, Eris was reliably a shit-stirrer. But invite her to the party or not, she still has her ways . . .
One day the gods threw a party to celebrate a marriage, and the gods didn’t invite Eris. So Eris acquired a golden apple and had it inscribed with the words “for the fairest.” Eris slyly rolled that apple into the midst of the festivities; three goddesses, seeing this apple, made a dive for it. Those goddesses were Hera (Marriage), Aphrodite (Beauty, Lust), and Athena (Creative Intelligence).
Of course, strife broke out because all three of the goddess claimed that they were “the fairest.” Zeus chose Paris, prince of Troy, to decide who was the fairest, and the goddesses proceeded to humiliate themselves spectacularly by stripping naked and making outrageous promises for the chance to possess that golden apple. Aphrodite ended up winning because she promised him the very beautiful Helen of Troy, who was the wife of another man.
Where Hugh Hefner’s life is concerned, it’s clear that The Moirae have a sense of humor.
* * *
Hefner’s Chiron is at 27 Aries, 8th house. There lies an unhealable wound around sex and taboo subjects. In this life, at least, maybe Hefner just couldn’t understand why everyone else wasn’t as open about sex and as receptive to polyamory as he was. This dealt a mortal wound to his ego (Aries), but he was still compelled to live with and around the wound.
UPDATE 10/2/2017: Astrologer Julie Demboski recently reposted an article she’d written back in 2008 about Hugh Hefner’s Eros placement–Eros conjunct Hefner’s South Node in Capricorn? Wow. Interesting read!
So what was your view of Hugh Hefner? Sinner, saint, somewhere in between, or something else entirely?
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