(I actually wrote this back in early 2016 and moved it over from a different blog I had at that time.)
David Bowie was an icon, and you sort of just assume that an icon is going to live forever. And in some ways they do. But in a physical, material sense, not even a Starman can live forever, it seems. His spirit crossed the Veil on January 10, 2016, after a battle with cancer.
The first thing I encountered in my astrological research about Bowie is that there are two birth charts for him. One chart features a 9:00 A.M. birth time, while the other features an 11:50 P.M. birth time. For me, the deciding factor about these two charts had everything to do with Magic. The nighttime chart seemed to me as if it was just missing the Magic, whereas the morning chart is full of it! So I’m sticking with the 9:00 A.M. chart.
So much of the story I see in David Bowie’s birth chart is about Saturn–both in regard to limits and in regard to hard work and staying power. And yet in some ways he ventured far beyond the limits of what was considered acceptable for his time and place.
Also fascinating, his last album, Blackstar… the word is actually an obscure occult designation for the planet Saturn. Saturnian limits, for example, in how Saturn-ruled Capricorn slammed down a firewall on Bowie’s 12th house.
His Sun conjunct Mars in the 12th, for me, evokes Icarus flying toward the Sun. And also his Sun/Mars conjunction (one-degree orb): This reminds me of being a kid in the ’60s and ’70s. People didn’t often pump their own gas back then–a gas station attendant would pump it for you (and they still do in New Jersey) and sometimes the guy would be holding his lit cigarette in the same hand he was using to pump your gas. Sun/Mars is also kind of like storing jet fuel next to a match factory. Without that 12th house Capricorn firewall, I think Bowie would have just kept on going, back out into space.
The theme of combustion is repeated in Bowie’s elemental alignments. I mean, holy smokes. He’s practically all Air and Fire. He has enough Earth to be embodied here, but the lack of Water in his elemental alignment tells a story too. Fire and Water dislike each other.
Bowie’s Aquarius ascendant guaranteed that we’d all see him as a Starman no matter what the truth was.
Scorpio resides on his 10th house cusp. Scorpio’s Water is dark and mysterious… unexplored… like Space itself. People easily drown in that sort of water. Not Bowie, though. With his Jupiter in Scorpio/9th house, he was predisposed to dig deep and wide into subjects that many consider to be taboo, illegal, or immoral from a traditional legal or religious viewpoint.
A quick Google search reveals David Bowie’s interest in occultism, but he was unsurprisingly also blessed with no small amount of psychic and magical ability. The planetary energy existing in all of the “mystical” houses in his chart (that is, 4, 8, and 12) strongly suggests to me that he needed ways to understand and work with Otherworldly experiences and abilities. I think his creativity functioned as a tool and that channel for him in that regard.
With that said, for someone as intensely creative as Bowie was, I was surprised that he had no planets in the 5th house. But looking to Venus in Sagittarius on his midheaven (profession, reputation) and Jupiter in Scorpio/9th, those both trine the 5th house. And with no planets in the 5th for his creativity to grab onto, I have the sense that it all just flows continually out into Space.
This makes me think his creativity was kind of a “giveaway” to us Earthlings. That’s how you work effectively with your South Node, according to esteemed astrologer Steven Forrest—you give it away, so to speak.
Perhaps the real story of Bowie’s 5th house lies in the opposite 11th house, where Mercury resides in Capricorn. Mercury is The Messenger, mythologically speaking.
For Bowie, I envision Mercury standing at the head of the velvet rope, checking people’s tickets for the show. I think Mercury’s message was that here was a person who was modeling for all of us a deep way of exploring concepts of the Self and the Other. So come see the show. And I mean that in a nice way.
The emptiness of Bowie’s 5th and 6th houses says to me that his Art was an essentially completed product. The 6th/12 house axis can be about apprentices and masters. Bowie is no apprentice. His creativity itself stands relatively unchallenged and unaffected by planetary energy and aspects. With hindsight, it looks to me as if Bowie was in this lifetime simply fine-tuning an essentially completed product.
Thus I believe something other than the transmission of creativity was keeping Bowie tied to the Earth plane. What was it?
Aquarius on Bowie’s Ascendant/1st house is about the Self. It’s also very detached, an observer by nature. But Leo on the 7th house is about marriage and other types of close, one-on-one partnerships. Leo is a participant, and speaks to the idea of warmth and engagement.
Another clue that supports the idea that Bowie was transmitting to us a message about Self and Other is that his 1st house/7th house cusps and axis are huge, compared to the rest of the houses. The theme of Plutonian power and Saturnian limits continues with his Saturn and Pluto, both retrograde in the 7th (the house of Marriage).
I believe Bowie was here for a do-over where marriage and one-on-one partnerships were concerned. For me this idea gets a LOT of weight due to his Saturn/Pluto in the 7th house and Leo and further affirmed by his 7th house moon conjunct the Descendant.
Being born into the Neptune in Libra generation adds even more gravitas for me to the importance of marriage and intimate partnerships to Bowie’s lessons and experiences in this incarnation.
Even with all the company he seemed to have in his head, Bowie struggled with loneliness. And loneliness can be a divine discontent that pushes us toward a different orientation to life.
On the surface, saying that Bowie’s evolutionary imperative was to simply be part of a happy marriage and family seems like a strange way to characterize someone with such a public, creative, Aquarian, Uranian persona as Bowie’s. But this is the value of working with the nodes as we do in evolutionary astrology.
I mean, doesn’t it seem kind of weird and shocking to you that an ostensibly gay or bisexual man in the ‘80s, when so many folks were starting to come out as gay, would come out as heterosexual? Yeah, that happened. Bowie “queered” heterosexuality, in a way. So Aquarian.
Additionally, Bowie’s 10th house, contained entirely in Sagittarius, is the World; Bowie’s 4th house, contained entirely in Gemini, is the Neighborhood. There are no cusps changing around his 4th or 10th houses to muddy those waters. Bowie was meant to leave the stage and come home to the neighborhood, come home to a wife and family.
And Bowie did, of course, have two biological children: director Duncan Jones (who back in the day was known as Zowie Bowie), who was born from the union with his first wife, Angela, and then Lexi Jones, his daughter with Iman.
But neither the multiple personas Bowie had in his head, nor a same-sex partner, nor his significant relationship with transgender performer Romy Haag, it seems, could meet the Universe’s criteria for Bowie in this incarnation for fitting into the role of The Other. Bowie needed to experience an Otherness that was expressed both internally and externally, it seems, to live out his evolutionary imperative.
The astrology of Bowie and Iman, to my eye, reads like alchemy. It makes sense to me that as he matured, all of his different personas submerged into integration for him. In a way, I think The Thin White Duke became A Moon King.
Iman’s astrology, though… I mean, wow, she is Fire. She is a queen–a Sun Queen. With Sun, Mars, Jupiter and Pluto in Leo as well as more elemental Fire in her chart, she seems to be exactly the “Other” that Bowie’s Higher Self was looking for.
Red, yang, assertive sun energy is often perceived as masculine, while white, yin, receptive moon energy is often perceived as feminine. Yet in their partnership, Bowie is the yin to Iman’s yang, bringing his own Aquarian, Uranian, magical spin to a very traditional and mundane topic.
It takes a Master to pull that off successfully.
* * *
The element of Bowie’s chart that, for me, absolutely screams “Starman” is his Uranus in the 4th house and Gemini.
Uranus innovates, startles, and shocks. It’s about “The Future,” while Saturn, also prominent in Bowie’s chart, is about “The Past.” Certainly, Uranus can mean a variety of things in the 4th house. But it can point to something quite strange or shocking in one’s ancestry.
We all pretty much take for granted that we humans are made of stardust. We even sing along about it without a care in the world. But aren’t most of us a tad less comfortable with the idea that extraterrestrials might actually exist and that they may have been meddling for millennia with human DNA?
Or how about this: In a house that is so focused on both physical ancestry and psychological roots, it’s not beyond imagining that Bowie embodied something shocking both a physical and a psychological level. And Gemini’s twins are quite literally two people. Occult lore, both modern and traditional, features stories about walk-ins. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that Bowie had a walk-in.
But, look, I don’t want to freak you guys out. 😉 In truth, this placement could point to something as simple as his eye coloring. I know that Bowie’s odd eye coloring was caused by an injury, but it left him with a physical feature that everyone pretty much acknowledges looked “alien.”
Maybe God or the Universe just has a sense of humor.
* * *
Before I finished looking at Bowie’s chart, I threw in some asteroids and other minor bodies to see what else there was to be seen. The one which most caught my eye was Bowie’s Pholus: It’s in the 12th house near his Sun/Mars conjunction.
Pholus is defined simply by Eric Francis at Planet Waves as “small cause/big effect.” Bowie certainly achieved big effect via his creative and fearless exploration of gender issues, the effects of which have echoed far out into collective consciousness.
Bowie made it all look so easy. He and his music never became irrelevant, even during his quieter, home- and family-focused years. I am seriously asking myself, “Was he a Bodhisattva or something??” Because his chart looks to me as if it belongs to a Being who navigates Fate with a considerable amount of experience.
Bowie was the Master, with the soul of a Performer, wearing the mask of the Alien.
Hail and blessings to the Traveler, David Bowie.