I’ll tell you a story. I was recently looking at a ‘new-to-me’ astrological blog site. A lady was alarmed because she had a Saturn-return in her 8th house; would she likely die soon? This was typical of those who are new to astrology or those who just hang around the fringe. Then, in another post some one was concerned about Saturn-in-the-11th squaring Venus-in-the-2nd. For some reason I decided to answer this. I have natal Saturn in the 10th; I seem to have learned much about how to live reasonably well with this pattern. I would hare my thoughts.
That same day I was looking for news items that might provide a name and a story to use in this blog site. I came across Stephen Hawking who had recently died following a life-long battle with ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease. It took less than a minute to run a natal chart for the date and time of his birth and a Moon-to-Sun Return prior to the date of his death. There was a natal Saturn-square-Venus. Coincidence? Several Saturn-square-Venus patterns in one day? I don’t believe in coincidences. When I did the Advanced chart for the day of his passing, I noted a transiting Saturn square transiting Venus. Another coincidence? I had just gotten a message from the universe. Here was my story. Let us start the story with a review of his natal chart and an overview of his life.
Stephen Hawking was born Jan. 8th, 1942 in Oxford, England at 2:29 AM. Pluto sat on him MC angle, Mars on his Descendant angle, and Ceres was close to his IC angle. I always look at angular planets first. This pattern suggests a deep concern about one’s health and survival (Ceres opposite Pluto), and the role of the mother and her support. The focal Mars feeds into this, perhaps an under-current of anger existed in that relationship.
Note the Saturn-square-Venus pattern noted earlier, from the 7th to the 4th, again stressing a structure of love and how it is given or withheld in the home. We will need to talk more about this at a later point.
Hawking’s Capricorn Sun was in the 3rd, within a grand-trine relationship with Saturn and Moon. Actually, the Moon is at the midpoint of Sun-Saturn, exact within 0d23m. Ebertin notes in his Combinations of Stellar Influences, “Emotional depressions partly in connection with organic disturbance, emotional inhibitions, fear, feelings of inferiority. Increasing loneliness, the separation of females, a bereavement.” These statements capture so much of Hawking’s life experience.
While a child, Hawking’s family was involved in various areas of medicine. The family led a frugal but studious life and he was able to attend fine schools suitable to the family’s ambitions for him. He attended Oxford, starting in 1959. His university experience, like his earlier years, was a mixture of lackadaisical effort and bursts of exceptional effort. In 1963 he commenced his doctoral studies but also was diagnosed with a motor neuron disease which was the early onset of ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). He was told that he might live two or three years. Initially depressed by this diagnosis and considering giving up his academic pursuits, he continued his studies following much urging from close associates. A PhD in applied mathematics and theoretical physics was earned. He specialized in general relativity and cosmology. He met his to-be-wife, a friend of his sister, at this time and married her in 1965 on July 14th. Is it any surprise that she also had a Saturn square Venus pattern in her natal chart?
Perhaps it is time to discuss Hawking’s Saturn-square-Venus pattern. This is a pattern that can pinch the love relationship with another, be it parent, sibling or a life partner. Saturn-Moon is known for its effect on one’s childhood and how one views parental roles, home life and their sense of personal freedom. Saturn-Venus can be even more difficult. A parent that one most depends upon can be distant or indifferent, difficult to reach due to schedule or demeanor. In the Hawking home, dinner was often conducted by everyone eating and quietly reading at the same time. There was little discourse during the meal. The family was often in financial difficulty, workdays for the parents were long, and frivolous spending and gifts were not common. A cold home life and long periods away at various schools did not create close family bonds. A parallel example might be Prince Charles who was constantly boarded at one school or another while his parents traveled on Royal business. His closest support came from a few school buddies and the distant relatives he stayed with in between school sessions.
ALS, as a disease, brings a continuous loss of nerve and muscle control, affecting and eliminating the ability to walk, to use one’s arms and hands, even one’s speech is eventually curtailed. Hawking’s disease progressed much more slowly, taking his whole life to wreck total havoc on his body. Ebertin’s Combination of Stellar Influences cites, in part, “Inhibitions in love-life . . . emotional inhibitions, soberness, a sense of duty, malfunctioning of the internal glandular secretions, . . . an unhealthy expression of the sex-urge, self-torment. . . lonely people.” All of this apples to Hawking himself as well as to those who make up his environment. The stunted home life is an expression of Saturn-square-Venus. His marriage to Jane Wilde placed most/all of the burden of running the house hold and arranging for the increasing number of attendants who took care of her husband squarely upon her. At the end of their marriage she left because the flow of people into their home was overly disruptive and tiring. Remember, she also had a Saturn square Venus in her chart. In her case she had to give much love under terrible conditions.
Hawking went on in his life to earn more degrees and to assume more leadership roles in many academic and scientific settings. He wrote many books. All of this was done while being in a wheel chair. He had lost the ability to use his hands in 2005. He next had to use a machine to speak for him. His mind and his persistence was truly amazing. For the sake of this blog, I will have to skip past more comments on this unique life and move to the period covering his recent passing.
On March 11, 2018, Hawking had a t/Moon-to-n/Sun Return in the 3rd house. The 3rd house focus would typically focus on communication, travel, visits and a busy environment. For Mr. Hawking, such a third house description was probably true of every day in his life. Since his natal Sun and Mercury were in the natal third house, and given his physical condition, the 3rd house generic interpretation perfectly describes his typical and ongoing daily life.
What strikes me on initially looking at this chart is that the angles are 3 degrees away from any planet contact. This, of course, tells us that events and actions suggested in the chart may be three days away from happening. Such is the case here. n/Mercury will not be contacted since it is behind the IC angle — the angles move forward about a degree-per-day. By that measure, t/Uranus is 3 degrees ahead of the Desc. angle. n/Pluto is 4 degrees ahead of the MC angle. And, the n/Asc. is 3 degrees ahead of the Ascendant angle. The t/Part of Fortune is a ‘free agent’, it moves as fast as the transiting Moon. In three days it can move 37 to 39 degrees. This amount of movement will bring the t/Moon close to the n/Neptune and square t/Mars.
At this point, what might we say about this Return?
1) The Advancing MC and Ascendant will shortly connect with the natal MC and natal Asc. This realignment of the angles signifies a potential re-birth, an inflection point when life may take any new direction, including death.
2) The contact of the advancing MC with n/Pluto, and t/Pluto in the 3rd house near n/Sun brings us to the consideration of a major change coming to fruition.
3) The t/Uranus and n/Mars pattern will be contacted by the advancing Desc. angle. Great energy will be suddenly apparent, will change everything very suddenly. This being opposite the natal Ascendant at 26 Libra, this pattern would normally affect relationships with others.
4) Finally, in this chart, we have the t/Part-of-Fortune square the natal Saturn-Uranus pairing. This presages a forced change in the status-quo. The paired planets will be brought into the seventh house by the moving angles and cusps. The change in the status quo (7th) will conflict with the energy to bring about change (Part of Fortune) in one’s goals in life.
5) We can jump from the t/PoF to the natal PoF, conjoining n/BML, and opposing t/Mars in the 3rd house. Mars should be strong, being opposite the weakening n/BML — except that t/Mars is near t/BML. So, Mars is weakened in its expressional energy. Does that translate to affecting the t/Uranus-n/Mars-Descendant pattern? And what about t/Sun squaring t/Mars (as well as squaring that n/PoF and n/BML); will this indicate a cold or a weakening of one’s physical resistance?
This Return chart is difficult to use as a forecasting tool. Whenever the heavy-outer planets are involved the astrologer has to nuance their ‘book’ meanings to fit any possible personal impact. Let’s consider these heavy planets:
1) Pluto is death, revolution, large-scale upheavals, irrevocable change.
2) Uranus is personal change, cognition of an important point, personal surprise.
3) Saturn is a kill-joy, a universal constraint, caution and sober reality.
4) The natal Part of Fortune is where we are most vulnerable to change, the transiting Part of Fortune is where change can come into play due to one’s actions, intentions and beliefs.
We need to go back to the natal chart in look at it relative to how Hawking lived his life.
1) Pluto at the MC; Hawking suffered from overwhelming debilitation, yet he persevered. (A Pluto quality).
2) Uranus fueled the uncovering of dramatic news and insights into the secrets of life. All of this was due to his mental conceptualization as a means of breaking from the constraints of Saturn.
3) Saturn, among many attributes, can offer one ‘persistence,’ a drive to keep on moving ahead in spite of difficulties.
4) The PoF, in this natal chart, abides with the natal Black Moon Lilith. Can one’s vulnerability to ‘chance and change’ be managed when married to a state of weakness and a lack of clarity — as represented by the BML position?
With this reminder of the natal chart and its relation to the actual life of Stephen Hawking, would an astrologer predict this man’s passing? I wouldn’t based on the planet-patterns alone. I would, given his age, based on the re-alignment of the natal angles and the Return angles — and with the heavy planets playing a role at those sensitive angle. As I suggested, those outer planets bring a lot of ambiguity to the role they might play on a personal level. Would you predict Hawking’s passing in the next couple of weeks from this chart?
I am going to leave this posting at this point where we consider the Return chart. We will, in the next posting, review the Advanced chart where things will be clearer. Dave.
PS: If any have observations or comments about the natal Part of Fortune and natal Black Moon Lilith, please feel free to comment.