Part One: Walt Disney & Steamboat Willie, his first talking cartoon.

Photo Steam Boat Willie

(Edited Jan 13th, 2015 to add a U-Tube video link — Dave) 

In this blog-posting we have to travel back in time, almost a century ago.  Imagine Hollywood producing silent movies.  Grainy black and white films shown in a theater with the accompaniment of a player piano, the thunderous bass notes to add drama along with the drawn out tinkle of very high notes to draw out the tension.   It was all so different back then.  This was the pre-depression  era, big bands were coming into their own, skinny-tire automobiles shared the road with horses and wagons in all but the larger cities.  Just a few years earlier Walt Disney (only having turned 21 years of age) and his brother Roy moved to California to create short-feature cartoon movies.  They formed their own studios for this purpose. We’ll cover some of those earlier ventures in other blogs.  We’ll move to 1938 when Walt was 37 years old.  Times were still tough, the Great Depression was still affecting much of the nation.  The movie industry was doing well enough by providing escapism and entertainment for a relatively poor population.   Walt, at this time, wanted to make short cartoon movies and incorporate sound, just as the new full-feature movies had started to do.  His vehicle for this innovation was a newly created character, a mouse given the name of Steamboat Willie.  We are talking crude stuff compared to later ventures.  First, let us look at his natal chart.


At the top of the chart we find Part of Fortune (PoF) conjoining Neptune;  Walt will be drawn to that which is unreal, dramatic, exclusionary, following an idealistic path.  Mercury is conjoining the IC angle; his strength will be in his mind and dexterity of his hands, his ability to communicate a private sense of values.   Jupiter and Saturn are linked in the fifth house, this pair represents the “business of life” in a creative mood.  Sun widely conjoins Uranus in the 4th, an indicator of a quick mind.  The Moon is in a final square phase relationship (270 to 315) with the Sun; one who sets a vision, an example that leads others forward.

In these brief remarks we can see some of the qualities that contributed to this man’s vision of life as seen through celluloid film, and later through a child’s vision of a fantasy world where dreams can come true.

Prior to releasing his new character, Walt wanted to add sound to the cartoon, something that had been tried but was not yet a commercial done-deal.  To this end he set up a private screening for a small group of employees and family members.  The projector was set up outside of the room so that its Photo Walt himselfnoise would not distract from the film.  The cartoon was projected onto a sheet behind which Walt a few others were seated to make the noises and special effects, plus the limited amount of voice used (Walt did Willie’s voice).  The film showing was a great success and gave Walt the confidence to go ahead and make a “talkie” cartoon.  We will look first at a t/Moon-to-n/Sun Return that occurred just two days prior to the private screening.






The theme for this t/Moon-to-n/Sun Return in the 11th house;  “Contributing to joint ventures having a public benefit or impact.  Training others, supporting creative efforts of others. Launching or completing a financial venture.  Teamwork. . . Seeking to include others in the community.”  This stilted statement is taken from my upcoming book, Personal Moon-to-Sun Returns, and serves as a guide to interpreting the individual factors in the chart.

Interesting is n/MC in the 4th; Walt’s career path will take a new turn.  With the conjoining Mars this will be a strong effort.  Mars is also a very creative force.   t/Sun opposes n/Venus from the Desc. angle; Walt will work with others to gain a favorable reaction to his project.   With the t/PoF conjoing t/N.Node, chance and change will impact or be impacted by the inclusion of others (Node).

All of this fits with the narrative given earlier.

Photo scene from SBW




Part of the cartoon feature a female mouse (the early Minnie) cranking the tail of a goat in order to cause it to sing or make noise.  This was reminiscent of the hand-cranked phonograph record players common at that time — a crank wound a spring which caused a round turn-table to turn.  The record, a flat wax disc, rotated beneath a needle on a balance-arm which picked up the sound track groove and made sounds emit from a large horn.  Those who might wish to view this early talking cartoon can acceess a U-Tube video at

DisneyWaltWaltAdv7-29-1928prSBWThis chart is for the day of the screening with the production of sounds and voice to go along with the movie scenes.  n/Venus is on the Asc.; Walts artistic sense of what is needed is being enacted.  t/Mars is at the IC; His creative efforts are going to suggest something new in his field of endeavor.

Most notably, t/PoF conjoins n/Neptune and n/PoF; a whole lifetime hangs on the outcome of this dramatic effort.  Further, this pattern sextiles the t/Neptune-n/Asc. suggesting a coordinated effort that works out well.  (Normally, sextiles are not used in cyclic charts, but in this case the connection to the PoF ((which is an extension of the Asc. angle)) warrants this as a supportive pattern).

t/Saturn is on the n/Sun position;  This is a time where discipline and continuity can pay off.   t/Moon conjoins n/Mars (doubling up Mars); bringing great emotional energy tothis project.

This has been a lengthy post with three charts, but I felt it made a great start for a new series.  Mickey Mouse will make a great theme to follow as we look at several events in the life of Walt Disney both prior to this chart and later.  I hope to explore the use of a variety of charting techniques.  Astrology is so rich in how it can be used, and so flexible, that one has to wonder about what is the guiding principles behind its magic.  Dave.



About dadsnook

Dave has been exploring cyclic astrology since the mid-1970's. CYCLIC astrology utilizes both Return charts and planetary-pair cycles for short-term prediction. These practices and four years of archived material are available for study or reading at A new book, Personal Prediction ISBN 978-9-615-63033-5, has been published and the MC-Solar Cycle technique is now supported through a recognized software provider so that all students and practicing astrologers can apply these techniques for their own use. Recently, Dave has been exploring a new charting format:, transiting Moon to natal Sun Return charts. These moon-sun returns show how see seek to maintain or deal with change in our lives. A book is expected to be released in 2015. Contact Dave for details at Dave is a retired business systems analyst and automation systems engineer, enjoys woodcarving and tarot in addition to astrology.
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One Response to Part One: Walt Disney & Steamboat Willie, his first talking cartoon.

  1. Iris says:

    Very interesting and enjoyable, Dave.
    Maybe we could include a clip to Steamboat Willie if there is one on youtube?

    I like your site; very nice to read.


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