Recently I had an opportunity to review a new April-May issue of one of the biggest world astrological magazines – The Mountain Astrologer under the title “The Music Issue” with nine, among others, different articles connecting astrology and music. This is very interesting subject in my opinion since it combines two apparently unrelated topics but I advise you to look deeper and with an open mind.
One of the founders and revolutionary thinkers of modern astrology – Dane Rudhyar was also a composer and he was constantly stressing this relation. Changes in music, global musical trends and styles are profound reflection of shifts inside soul of humanity. Trough ages civilization evolves and thus trough sounds that we produce we don’t just reflect momentary joy or sadness, some of us play melodies of time that is now or even the time that will come.
Different astrologers in “The Mountain Astrologer” tried to cover this complex subject trough texts covering just little over last one hundred years to try to demonstrate variety of examples where we can find connection between planetary movements and music. In my opinion the best article was Neil Spencer’s “Astrology of Pop” where he concentrated his research on Jupiter-Uranus cycle lasting 13.8 years. Conjunction between these two planets corresponds with major musical trends relating to pop music. Just few examples are 1902 – unofficial birth of jazz, 1941 – emergence of Frank Sinatra as a solo star, 1954 – first commercial single of Elvis Presley, 1968/’69 – Led Zeppelin, Woodstock festival, “funk” and James Brown…and all the way till the beginning of current cycle in 2010 with still unclear results. Whole evolution of pop music was graphically presented in “Astro-Chronology of Pop Music: 1956-2011” by Frank C. Clifford. For me little too dense with information but definitely worth reading.
The Mountain Astrologer April-May 2014. Issue – SUBSCRIPTION or ORDERING trough – www.mountainastrologer.com/
In Lynn Bell’s “The Moon, Musicians, and the Listening Public” subject was more personalized with Moon in Pisces in natal charts of Elvis, Sinatra, M. Jackson and Leonard Cohen, musicians who could put to use this sensitive Moon in their artistic work the best. Some more contemporary examples were strong woman with Moon-Pluto conjunction like Madonna, Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus. Frank C. Clifford in “Iconic Vocalists of the 20th Century: Their Music, Their Lives, Their Charts” put more emphasis on vocal abilities, life stories and their roots in natal charts from singers like Roy Orbison, Sinatra, Barbara Streisand, Nina Simone, Bono Vox etc. Definitely very intuitive subject was just opened in article by Kelly Surtees “The Singer and the Song” where she tries to connect natal chart of an artist, transit at the time of a release of particular album or single with symbolism/meaning of a song. The idea is very good with some interesting examples like Amy Winehouse and “Rehab” but this article just opens the field for more research.
The dark side of the music was presented trough nicely covered story on Marilyn Manson in Austin Coppock’s “Playing the Villain: Marilyn Manson and the 1990’s” with some tools from newly revived Hellenistic astrology and extreme example of life of Phill Spector in Kim Farley’s “The Spectre of an American Music Pioneer: Profiling Phil Spector”. It is the story about co writer and performer of famous “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin” who was convicted for murder in 2003.
Article by Joan Kendig “Aspects of Genius: Debussy’s Transformation of Music” (which is only available in digital form online) was a bit disappointing. Claude Debussy was a genius composer a head of his time with huge influence on freeing old European souls from rigid musical forms. Evan Rudhyar wrote a small biography about him. Analysis of his natal chart gives us some very insightful information about big number of so called “minor aspect” like novile, septile and quintile. This should have been explained with more clarity and simplicity and combined with his work and global changes. He was far more than just a natal chart with unusual planetary aspects. Writer notices well importance of his tone-poem “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun” from 1894 but doesn’t connects the time of performance with with 500 year long cycle between Neptune and Pluto. Few pages shorter and more on his subtle influence on society would make this article much better.
In general The Mountain Astrologer gave a pretty interesting view on music and astrology which is somehow neglected under pressure of the subjects of global economical and political problems. We can try to understand time trough study of planetary cycles but we can also understand it trough careful listening of inspired melodies.