2016: Group Relationships. David Bowie: Aquarius Rising.
“Water of life am I, poured forth for those who thirst.”
(Full Moon Jan. 24, 2016. 1.46 am. GMT.)
David Bowie: Elegant and Enigmatic Aquarius Rising
University of the Seven Rays Conference, April 2016
The Aquarian Group Process
Aquarius is the third of the three air signs Gemini, Libra and Aquarius – all signs of relationships: General, personal and group respectively. Every year when the Sun passes through Aquarius, we get a taste of what the new Aquarian cycle will bring for the next 2,000 years.
Aquarius is a reforming and revolutionary sign that follows conserving Capricorn. Saturn as ruler of Capricorn represents the organization of ideas upon the mental plane, which become codified laws that society lives by. But those ideas and laws are ever relative because they suit a certain time period for evolving human consciousness.
Hence, ideas and laws must periodically change so that the human family can move forward. If they do not, then the person or nation becomes so crystallized that their previous laws become a parody of their former selves. Capricorn-ruled India is a good example of this, with many outdated customs such as the caste system still practiced today.
Aquarius ruled by Uranus, brings sudden or revolutionary change. As the sign following Capricorn, its work is to bring continual reform to the status quo. It was no accident that Uranus was discovered between the American and French Revolutions in 1781, a date that signaled the start of the 500 year cusp of the ages, the transition from Pisces to Aquarius.
Uranus is considered a “mental” energy:
“… that intelligent, fusing condition which produces the scientific at-one-ment of the two factors, higher and lower self, through the intelligent use of the mind … whose characteristics are the scientific mind … knowledge can be transmuted into the way of wisdom and of light … [Uranus] initiates a new order of life and conditions … in its turn produces an understanding of the causes of things as they are, and the desire to change the old order and the old orientation into the new.”1
Uranus-Aquarius enables one to think outside the box, to innovate and invent. Yet this dual sign signified by the glyph of wavy lines (signifying water or electricity), is also one that is connected to the heart. Esoteric ruler of Aquarius is Jupiter, ruler of the second ray of Love-Wisdom. Therefore, the Water-Bearer serves with a finely honed intellect, guided by a loving heart. Hence the reputation Aquarians have for philanthropy and humanitarian causes. The Water-Bearer pours forth his/her urn filled with the waters of Love-Wisdom.
Venus, exoterically the planet of relationships, is associated with all three air signs: Soul ruler of Gemini, personality ruler of Libra and esoterically ruler of the fifth ray of science – the only ray to pass through Aquarius. Hence again, the propensity of Aquarius for science, of which our modern technologies and computers are all an expression.
This is why Aquarians are regarded as being emotionally “detached, aloof or cool” and why Aquarius is a sign of group relations because it takes impersonality and detachment to work with a team or co-operate with a group of powerful personalities who have all come together for some common goal.
This team spirit is reflected in modern corporations who work to a common goal, but at this early stage of the Aquarian precession cycle, we witness the majority of these conglomerates in their selfish Leo polarity – self-aggrandisement, greed and exploitation. During the next two thousand years, these attitudes will gradually disappear as they mature and take on greater social responsibility.
“This coming process of planetary service through the third divine centre [Humanity] is only truly effective when Aquarius rules and when our sun is passing through that sign of the zodiac. Hence the immense importance of the next 2000 years. Therefore, only when a man is a world server and becoming group conscious can this desired objective of manifestation begin to demonstrate.
It is beginning to happen today for the first time in planetary history. It is one of the first fruits of initiation and only in the next root race to our present Aryan race will we begin really to understand the significance of the process and the true nature of the energies to be released through the medium of humanity upon the planet. ”2
David Bowie: Elegant and Enigmatic Aquarius Rising
The following analysis is an expansion upon a brief tribute published on the author’s Facebook page. (If you wish to see these regular commentaries between the monthly newsletters, ‘friend’ me at the link above.) To really do justice to the subject, an astrological biography could be written on David Bowie’s life, such was its variety and richness.
His passing has had a profound effect on several generations of fans. As the old saying goes, you don’t know what you’ve got ’til its gone. Bowie leaves an enormous legacy as a musician, singer, songwriter, arranger, producer, actor, painter and fashion icon.
Bowie was a Capricorn Sun, placed in the twelfth house, giving him a mystical and visionary edge. A twelfth house Sun can be “all things to all men”, reflecting Bowie as the ultimate chameleon playing with a cast of characters that were all aspects of his many-faceted self. Capricorn is also a sign of magic, a subject Bowie acquainted himself with deeply, particularly the areas of Kabbalah and Gnosticism.3
In Esoteric Astrology the rising sign represents soul purpose. Bowie was Aquarius rising and he lived up to his full potential in becoming a revolutionary innovator in music, a brilliant songwriter and riveting performer. Aquarius has a knack of bringing together people from diverse races and backgrounds, synthesizing various musical styles.
With Aquarius ruler Uranus placed in Gemini, furthering his chameleon tendencies, Bowie was electric and eclectic, he was able to gather many disparate elements of music, images, words – and blend them together into a deeper synthesis, creating something utterly new; this is the heart of Aquarian innovation and he was regarded as an innovator in many fields.
Uranus also makes a quincunx aspect to his Sun-Mars, giving his Capricorn Sun a much more Aquarian flavour. Also, in old Rosicrucian texts it is stated that those born in the latter part of Capricorn are somewhat more Aquarian, more carefree and less serious, like a gamboling goat kicking up its heels.4
The Moon in Leo is opposite his Aquarian ascendant, representing his natural performance skills and facial features that bear a passing resemblance to fellow Brit and Leo Moon-Sun, Peter O’Toole. It is noteworthy that this Aquarian full moon period of 2016, the Sun-Moon opposition occupy the same degrees as Bowie’s Ascendant-Moon.
Bowie excelled in the limelight, or should that be the “serious (Sirius) moonlight”? Bowie has said that he did not like performing, perhaps reflecting the retiring quality of his twelfth house Sun, yet he played thousands of performances as a singer and actor!
Bowie as Pontius Pilate (with Willem Dafoe) from Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ.
Investigating this contradiction, Robert Fritz says,
“He had said that he was essentially a writer and songwriter, and that he was hoping others would perform his songs. When they didn’t, he created a series of personas that would perform his material. The reason for using various characters was the simple fact that he felt uncomfortable performing on stage. By inventing these characters, he could be like an actor playing a role so he could better perform his own material.
What led Bowie to such clarity between himself, as creator, and his creations? His ability to separate himself from his work. This is a major principle for all artists to learn. That you are not your work. That your work is not a representation of you. That your work is an invention, and not a factor of identity.
In fact, Bowie said, “I didn’t try to identify myself or ask myself ‘Who I was?” The less questioning I did about who I was, the more comfortable I felt. So now I have absolutely no knowledge about myself and I’m extremely happy.”5
The Moon represents the Dweller and in Leo’s case is related to pride, domination, arrogance and extreme “drama queen”; perhaps also being a “performance junky” – addicted to adulation. With Leo Moon opposite Aquarius rising, there was ever-present the dynamic drama of the Angel and the Dweller, the Soul and the Shadow. In resolving these warring opposites, Bowie drew upon his multi-artforms to create great music and performance.
“… upon the reversed wheel [on the Path] … the intensive self-consciousness of Leo expands into the group awareness of Aquarius. The individual becomes the universal. Man, alone and separative, becomes mankind in his reactions and awareness and yet, at the same time, preserves his individuality; he is no longer just a human being, individually self-centred and separative, but becomes humanity itself, losing his personal identity in the good of the whole yet retaining his spiritual Identity.”6
The Sabian Symbol for the 4th degree of Leo is,
“A formally dressed elderly man stands near trophies he brought back from a hunting expedition.”
Keynote: The masculine will to conquer his animal nature and to impress his peers with his skill in performing the ancient traditional power rituals.
[Dane Rudhyar comments:] This symbol may be interpreted at the strictly social level – the hunter’s trophies, his pride in showing them to members of his high-class club, etc. But if one refers to the higher spiritual-mental implications of the sign Leo, one can see in this picture a reference to man’s capacity to overcome the animalistic tendencies of his bio-psychic nature according to certain traditional procedures.
The implication of being ‘formally dressed’ is that an important if not the most important, goal the individual had in developing this capacity has been to ‘prove himself’ – to others, as well as perhaps to himself.”8
There is also a T-square of Ascendant-Moon to Chiron in Scorpio, bringing in the Scorpio themes of sexuality, death and the hidden mysteries. Aquarius can be quite androgynous (Ziggy Stardust), ambiguous or ambivalent sexually, hence the square from Chiron in Scorpio exacerbated that tendency, contributing to ongoing public speculation about his sexuality.
Bowie’s Aquarius rising soul ruler Jupiter is also in Scorpio, giving him an unflinching and uncompromising skill in exploring the depths of human experience. Jupiter is dignified in its own ninth house of the arts, esotericism, philosophy and religion. It also square to Ceres-Demeter in Aquarius, Patron of the Mysteries. Jupiter is the ruler of the second ray of Love-Wisdom which may have been Bowie’s soul ray. Britain is a second ray soul and Bowie may well have came forth from the heart of his nation.
However, there is a good argument for Bowie being a fourth ray soul and if so, this would have been very rare, as the fourth ray of Harmony through Conflict (a.k.a. the ray of Art, Music and Beauty), is “not currently in incarnation” – it will be starting a new cycle in 2025.
But there is a possibility that Bowie may have been a “preview” of the fourth ray cycle and the souls who will soon return into incarnation. His life was probably the culmination of a series of incarnations along artistic lines. There is much about the genius of Bowie that could be compared to other giants in the arts over the centuries. He brought many skills together – songwriting, performance, a multi-instrumentalist and a rich baritone voice (originally tenor) that could stretch all the way to falsetto – this was the magic of Bowie.
Transits to Mars in Capricorn at Bowie’s Death
At the time of his passing on January 10, 2016, Bowie had an uncanny amount of aspects to his Mars in Capricorn.
“[Mars in Capricorn]… God’s idea in Aries becomes the concrete plan in Capricorn … a personality working out its own ideas and ambitious worldly projects, or the spiritual aspiration of the initiate, who seeks to work out God’s plans and make them his own.”9
Bowie may have been somewhere between a “personality” and an “initiate”, possibly just before or at the second degree initiation. (In past newsletters it has been pointed out that the second degree represents quite an advanced stage of unfoldment and that many aspirants over-estimate themselves as having past this point.)
1. Transiting Pluto conjunct Mars in Capricorn.
2. Progressed Moon conjunct Mars – at his cancer diagnosis 18 months ago. Moon rules his sixth house of health.
3. Ascendant ruler Uranus square Mars in Capricorn – exact.
Mars is closely connected to the physical form nature and is exalted in Capricorn – where the mountain-top is conquered. Capricorn is a sign of completion and death because once the summit is scaled there is nowhere else to go, but to start the incarnation process again.
“[Mars in Capricorn] … this most material of all the signs is the battleground of the old established order and habits and the new and higher inclinations and tendencies.”10
Mars is exalted in Capricorn because it represents the potential triumph of the aspirant overcoming the “old established order and habits”, particularly relating to the astral body and solar plexus centre – which Mars rules.
The solar plexus is the seat of emotion, desire and addiction – of which Bowie had his share, particularly cocaine – as his Thin White Duke persona reflects. (Note the “Duke”, connecting to the “royalty” expression of his Leo moon.)
Bowie died just two days after his birthday. His solar return chart for that date shows Scorpio rising with Mars in Scorpio in the twelfth house. Scorpio is the most well known of the four zodiac signs associated with death and regeneration.
Bowie died from liver cancer, which is caused by hepatitis B or C, 80-95% of the time.11 It was most likely hepatitis C, the “silent epidemic” that struck the lifestyle of many who chose the road of rock and roll and drugs in those hedonistic days. Hepatitis C also caused the death of Bowie’s friend and collaborator Lou Reed, who died shortly after a liver transplant in 2013. (Reed was a Pisces Sun with a host of planets in Gemini.)
The liver is associated with the solar plexus centre, as are all organs in that area of the body. Hence, all the transiting aspects mentioned above to Mars, ruler of the solar plexus. Saturn is the Lord of Karma and Bowie was going through an arduous Saturnian regime of chemotherapy. In this regard, Saturn can be seen as a “Blackstar”, imposing karma and, in his role as an agent of death, “reaping” a soul at the end of his cycle.
Bowie’s Success and Venus in Sagittarius
Venus dominates the midheaven of the Aquarius rising horoscope. Venus, the goddess of Beauty, is in the ninth house of the arts etc. – aesthetic, highly idealistic and spiritually oriented; giving a friendly, outgoing and sociable attitude, an aesthetic appreciation of classical forms of beauty, very frank and direct; and naturally, a strong adherence to ethics, philosophy or religion. There is a love of travel with Venus in Sagittarius and often people with this position marry someone from another country (as he did) or end up living overseas – New York for twenty-five years.
In 1969, just a few days before the Moon landing, Bowie released “Space Oddity”, effectively launching his career in the big league. The personality and soul rulers of his Aquarian ascendant – transiting Uranus and Jupiter – were squaring his progressed mid-heaven in late Sagittarius – conjunct the Galactic Centre, just to emphasise these space themes!
Bowie was catapulted into greater stardom when he launched his Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars stage show on February 10 1972, appropriately whilst the Sun was in Aquarius. Here was the birth of a new musical revolution, coming at the end of a previous extraordinary period of music in the late sixties and early seventies.
His progressed Sun was also in Aquarius exactly opposite Pluto in Leo, in his seventh house of relationships – mirroring the profoundly transformative effect he had upon all who saw him perform or who listened to his music.
At the same time, transiting Neptune (ruling music, film and glamour) was conjunct his mid-heaven (career). Thus the mystique and cult of Bowie became more firmly embedded. Neptune had been transiting natal Venus for the previous year of 1971, the mixture of these two planets is one of the most potent creative combinations – gestating what was about to be born in 1972. Neptune continued to transit back and forth between his mid-heaven and Venus for all of 1972, thus establishing himself in mass (Neptune) public consciousness.
(Again, during 2015 Bowie’s Venus in Sagittarius was most prominent, as transiting Saturn went back and forth across Venus and his mid-heaven, contributing to his latest success, emulating the earlier successes where Venus was prominently aspected.) Other notable transits in 1972:
1. Exoteric ascendant ruler Uranus trine natal Uranus – soul purpose was starting to flow.
2. Esoteric ascendant ruler Jupiter conjunct his progressed mid-heaven in late Sagittarius.
(These two factors alone, are strong rectification proofs of an Aquarian ascendant.)
Mercury square Neptune
Many in the arts possess a sensitivity that renders them occasional conduits for higher forces, whether a musician, writer, poet, playwright; they often tap into an aspect of the Divine consciously or unconsciously – and convey it through their art-form to the masses.
Bowie had Mercury the Messenger in the Neptunian twelfth house, square to Neptune in Libra. This point of tension can traditionally be associated with nebulous thinking and confused communications. But, as a pattern needing regeneration in the horoscope of an awakening individual, it certainly found expression in Bowie’s song-writing – based upon his receptivity to more refined frequencies of Neptune.
In the horoscope of someone who is starting to, or who has overcome the lower Neptunian tendencies, Neptune offers a mystic view of the heavens. (Neptune and Mars both rule the solar plexus centre.) Bowie’s Mercury in Capricorn contributed a sense of structure to Neptune’s visionary sensitivity – this is how Bowie forged his songs. Mercury is also the trickster and ruler of this Uranus in Gemini chameleon – this trickster is present in the latest video for Blackstar. (See at about 5′ 35″.) It is interesting to note this Mercury-Neptune aspect may have some bearing upon the following:
“Through the influence of Mercury and Neptune the group consciousness of the individual is developed, so that through the tests in Scorpio and the experience in Aquarius the disciple emerges on the physical plane into the position of a world server.”12
There are numerous examples that can be given for Bowie as the Mercurial Messenger – this one from “Starman”:
“There’s a starman waiting in the sky
He’d like to come and meet us
But he thinks he’d blow our minds
There’s a starman waiting in the sky
He’s told us not to blow it
Cause he knows it’s all worthwhile.”
This verse is a perfect description of one of a variety of Avatars that visit Earth occasionally:
“Another and lesser Avatar is also awaiting a call from humanity … Who this Coming One may be is not yet revealed. It may be the Christ, if His other work permits; it may be One chosen by Him to issue forth, overshadowed by the Avatar of Synthesis and directed in His activities…”13
“Next century [21st] … the seventh ray Avatar will appear. His work will demonstrate the law, order and rhythm of the creative process as it works out on the physical plane, blending spirit and matter … He will be largely instrumental in producing those conditions which will permit of the reappearance upon Earth of the Mysteries of Initiation … He is necessarily connected with the Great White Lodge on Sirius.”14
Bowie’s Study of Kabbalah, Magic, Gnosticism
“1983: I had this more–than–passing interest in Egyptology, mysticism and the Kabbalah. At the time it seemed transparently obvious what the answer to life was. My whole life would be transformed into this bizarre nihilistic fantasy world of impending doom, mythological characters and imminent totalitarianism.”15
There are many reports discussing Bowie’s forays into “the occult”. Some of them are written by those who have no knowledge of such things, tending to strengthen the negative thoughtform of “occult” in the public perception as something connected to black magic.
Of course, “occult” simply means “that which is hidden” and concerns altruistic white magic or selfishly appropriated black magic. Other reports are a little more informed, but Bowie’s involvement in these areas was part of his explorations and borrowing from various traditions.
“Well, I’m a huge Crowley fan, I’ve always been. I tried to make a movie on his life a few years ago but we didn’t manage to put it together. I love Crowley for being an audacious man at certain point in time. I think he’s greatly misunderstood. He was a good guy, but he was portrayed as an evil man and he wasn’t.”16
In an interview in the New Musical Express in 1997, he gives a contradictory answer about Crowley to the previous passage:
Q: “So were you involved in actual devil worship?”
A: “Not devil worship, no, it was pure straightforward, old-fashioned magic.”
Q: “The Aleister Crowley variety?”
A: “No, I always thought Crowley was a charlatan. But there was a guy called [Arthur] Edward Waite [Rider-Waite tarot deck.] who was terribly important to me at the time. And another called Dion Fortune who wrote a book called ‘Psychic Self-Defense‘.
You had to run around the room getting bits of string and old crayons and draw funny things on the wall, and I took it all most seriously, ha ha ha! I drew gateways into different dimensions, and I’m quite sure that, for myself, I really walked into other worlds. I drew things on walls and just walked through them, and saw what was on the other side!”17
The Golden Dawn was an important esoteric group at the end of the 19th century, but Crowley, who was kicked out of the order is a controversial figure accused of treading the “dark path”. Perhaps later Bowie abandoned his dabbling in Crowley but again, we witness his ambivalence or perhaps flights of fancy and exploration into various themes. Even in his latest videos for Blackstar, the lines between black and white are a little blurred, yet still points to the greater mysteries of life.
Capricorn is a sign of magic and manifestation and Bowie was a magician; Aquarius is a sign of experimentation and he experimented with many things. His last album was meant to be about his death with many musings and esoteric references that will be probably analysed for years. The name of the album Blackstar refers to the Midnight Sun, where “midnight merges with midday”:
“Apuleius said when describing his initiation (vide ante): “At midnight I saw the sun shining with a splendid light.” The midnight sun was also part of the mystery of alchemy. It symbolized the spirit in man shining through the darkness of his human organisms. It also referred to the spiritual sun in the solar system, which the mystic could see as well at midnight as at high noon, the material earth being powerless to obstruct the rays of this Divine orb.
The mysterious lights which illuminated the temples of the Egyptian Mysteries during the nocturnal hours were said by some to be reflections of the spiritual sun gathered by the magical powers of the priests. The weird light seen ten miles below the surface of the earth by I-AM-THE-MAN in that remarkable Masonic allegory Etidorhpa (Aphrodite spelt backward) may well refer to the mysterious midnight sun of the ancient rites.”18
There are some deeply buried hints and others more obvious, such as a verse from “Blackstar”:
“Something happened on the day he died
Spirit rose a metre and stepped aside
Somebody else took his place, and bravely cried
(I’m a blackstar, I’m a blackstar)
How many times does an angel fall?”
Another prophetic verse from “Lazarus” (who Jesus brought back to life):
“Look up here, I’m in heaven
I’ve got scars that can’t be seen
I’ve got drama, can’t be stolen
Everybody knows me now …
You know, I’ll be free
Just like that bluebird
Now ain’t that just like me?”
Farewell Major Tom …
“Wild as the Wind” – Live in 2000.
The Hidden History of Humanity on Facebook. Phillip Lindsay’s writings and travels on the theme of Esoteric History, proposing a more extensive chronology for the unfoldment of human consciousness. If you wish to see my travel pics through Europe at the moment, you can “follow” this page. (Travel Diary #7 will come out next month.)
Seminar on Cosmic Fire: Sweden March 2016.
A workshop in the subtle atmosphere of Hillesgården in the south of Sweden, where Phillip Lindsay will give an introduction to “A Treatise on Cosmic Fire”. The study will open a deeper understanding around the universal forces that we all are affected by, and their effect in what we call the phenomenal world. The workshop will be in English and the group thereby international. More …
USR Conference April 5-17, 2016 in Mesa, Arizona.
This year is the thirtieth anniversary of the University of the Seven Rays conference. I will be participating this year and look forward to connecting once again with many of the people who have contributed over the years. Do think about trying to make it to this year’s event!
I will also be available in the USA and Canada to present seminars on Esoteric Astrology and the Hidden History of Humanity, If you are interested in my visiting your area please contact me soon, as my travel schedule will have to be planned. I will be available from late April to early June approximately – about seven weeks. Then I will return to Europe, starting with Portugal in late June.
Phillip Lindsay © 2016.
- Esoteric Astrology, Alice A. Bailey, p.224-5. [↩]
- Esoteric Astrology, Alice A. Bailey. p.200. [↩]
- http://vigilantcitizen.com/musicbusiness/occult-universe-david-bowie-meaning-blackstar/ [↩]
- A.M.O.R.C. [↩]
- https://www.facebook.com/RobertFritzInc/?fref=photo [↩]
- Esoteric Astrology, Alice A. Bailey. p.136. [↩]
- Esoteric Healing, Alice A. Bailey. p.136. [↩]
- Dane Rudyhar, Sabian Symbols: An Astrological Mandala. [↩]
- Esoteric Astrology, Alice A. Bailey. p.100. [↩]
- Esoteric Astrology, Alice A. Bailey. p.100. [↩]
- http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/liver/index.htm [↩]
- Esoteric Astrology, Alice A. Bailey. p.219. [↩]
- The Externalisation of the Hierarchy, Alice A. Bailey. p.303. [↩]
- The Externalisation of the Hierarchy, Alice A. Bailey. p.299. [↩]
- David Bowie, Musician, May 1983 [↩]
- Vice News, Behind “Blackstar”: An Interview with Johan Renck, the Director of David Bowie’s Ten-Minute Short Film. [↩]
- David Bowie, interviewed in NME, 1997. [↩]
- Manly P. Hall, The Secret Teachings of All Ages. [↩]