Below is the birth chart of the late, great John Lennon, composer of such timeless gems as Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, Strawberry Fields Forever, Give Peace a Chance, Happy Xmas (War is Over), and Imagine (with its utopian ideals about everyone ‘living life in peace’). His mild protest songs have much to do with the fact that he was an idealistic, peace-loving sun Libran, plus the moon in politically-minded Aquarius. Here it is then:
John Lennon was born October 9, 1940, at 6.30 p.m, giving an ascendant in Aries, and the moon in Aquarius. Any astrologer – if they didn’t know this was John Lennon’s chart – would already have this individual down as a hot-head, egomaniac Aries ascendant, who nevertheless can barely function without the support of a group or a close partner (moon in Aquarius/sun Libra). Aquarius, of course, thrives best in peer groups and, with the moon there, a need was fulfilled when the Beatles came along. Certainly, he was no loner. But having this configuration created an interesting conflict – it wasn’t enough just to enjoy others company when around his social group, he also had to be the leader! The me-first Aries ascendant gave him a powerful individualist streak and the need to ‘stand out’ – he needed to have his own way, essentially. But with the sun in Libra, John Lennon’s life-lesson was about relating on a one-to-one basis, about give and take, harmony, balance and equality. And so Lennon had to balance this compromising Libran trait with the ‘me first’ selfishness of Aries! Perhaps not an easy dichotomy to handle.
Then there is that emotionally ‘dry’ Aquarian moon. Together with their facility for humanitarian values and getting along with others, Aquarian types are often attracted to the arena of political protest as a way of making a point. As astrologers are aware, they like to stand up for theirs’ and others’ rights. Not only did John dabble in political songs (e.g. Revolution and the Sometime in New York City album), he was personally involved with revolutionary figures from the hard left when he moved to New York in 1971. In fact, the Nixon government were so wary of his activities that he was, for a time, the subject of FBI surveillance.
That Aquarian moon is possibly the most powerful factor on this chart, too. The moon on a male chart is his ‘feminine’ half and suggests the kind of female to whom he’s attracted. In Aquarius, she would have to be an idealist, an intellectual, broad-minded, an ‘original’, eccentric even. (Certainly not the stay-at-home submissive type or the child-bearing ‘earth mother’). He finally found these qualities in a lively and unconventional female – Yoko Ono, a sun Aquarian, it should be noted. But there’s much more to this moon placement.
Look at how the moon opposes Pluto in Leo – an extremely powerful aspect. Pluto ‘rules’ all the dark stuff about human nature; all the issues we leave to the psychiatrist. It concerns ‘death and rebirth’ and powerful forces above and beyond our control. It’s around when there is irrevocable change in our lives, when something has ‘died’, or ended – with all of the emotional pain it can entail. In short, it’s about major power conflicts, and what we can or cannot really control in our lives. But it also takes us to the very core of our souls.
It’s also there in childhood trauma, indeed, whilst the moon represents our experience of being nurtured, Pluto is also represented by the archetypal Terrible Mother – the all-consuming, possessive and vengeful matriarch. Certainly, John Lennon had childhood demons to exorcise and his moon-Pluto opposition speaks volumes about such experiences, for his youth was scarred with pain. When little, he was once forced to choose between his parents, whose relationship had long broken down. Both his mother and father were also absent from his life for long periods and he simply didn’t feel wanted. To top it all, his mother Julia was killed by a reckless automobile driver on a local Liverpool road when John was only eighteen. Plus, his best friend Stuart Sutcliffe (one of the original five Beatles) died of a brain haemorrage at only twenty-two – just prior to the Beatles’ career taking off.
It’s therefore no wonder that, later, John would seek Primal Scream therapy to release all of that pent up trauma and anguish, culminating in a massive emotional discharge – the patient literally screams it away! If John’s moon-Pluto opposition confronted him with his own volcanic depths, it also came out in his relationship with Yoko. The moon-Pluto opposition meant his image of Mother was an all-containing, formidable figure, and it’s no surprise that John would later refer to his wife as ‘Mother’. In a way, Yoko was the mother he never had. His Aunt Mimi (who raised him in lieu of his actual mother) was also a resourceful and tough cookie (with a heart of gold) who never suffered fools gladly. All of this amounted to John’s experience of women – with moon-Pluto on the birth chart, women (for him) had to be made of steel. Then he could feel close to them!
There is more harshness with Mercury in intense, emotional Scorpio, indicating his propensity towards very strong views and opinions, and to see things in black and white. John Lennon aficionados are well aware of this tendency of John’s to speak the unvarnished truth as he saw it. Because this is Scorpio (the sign symbolising humanity’s hidden depths) it often came out with a harsh, cutting, even sarcastic edge. (Very unlike typical Libra!) His views on Christianity – when he remarked that the Beatles were ‘more popular than Jesus’ – famously caused an unholy furore in Bible Belt America in 1966. Some placards even read: ‘Jesus died for you, John Lennon’! But when he made them, he just thought he was being truthful. (Indeed, he once wrote a song called Gimme Some Truth.) There is also his unpleasant attack on Paul McCartney in the song, How Do You Sleep? – a response to perceived insults in the lyrics from McCartney’s Ram album.
The overall picture is slightly complicated, however, with Mars in Libra. The sign this planet occupies shows how one expresses one’s ego, how one engages the powers of will and asserts oneself when rubbing up against others. Channeled through gentle, compromising Libra, John was good at wheedling what he wanted from other people, and would use his considerable charm to get it – and that’s before he was famous. Mars is also how you express anger, and this works peculiarly through peace-loving Libra. For instance, he had a quirky way of showing his displeasure. In one angry letter to McCartney (over the break-up of the Beatles), he vented his spleen in the normal way and then ended by more or less saying ‘no hard feelings eh?’, as if suddenly wanting to be friends again. It’s a peculiar way to sound off – getting all angry and accusatory and then retracting what you’ve just said with an instant peace gesture. (Aries combining with Libra?) He even denied that the attack on Paul in ‘How Do You Sleep’ was actually about Paul – that it really reflected back on himself!
John Lennon – All You Need Is Love
John’s Venus was in Virgo, a not overly emotional position; if anything, it’s too discriminating, practical, common sense and ‘dry’ (a quality that also comes from moon in Aquarius, too remember). Certainly, Venus in Virgo is not full of lovey-dovey feelings and sentimentality. Indeed, John – apart from when undergoing Primal Scream therapy – never really wore his feelings on his sleeve, and to think of him as an emotional person is to misread him. But somewhere within him was the modest, hard-working, practical and organised Virgo factor, a side to his nature that he found in at least two significant personal relationships. They were sun Virgoans, too – the Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein and his first wife Cynthia Powell, the mother of Julian Lennon. He was almost certainly attracting this Virgo side of himself through other people. Like attracts like.
But it seems John was never truly in love with Cynthia – all of his passion was, in the end, reserved for Yoko Ono. Why? Well, the Synastry technique shows up some powerful connections. Synastry is the art of reading how two separate charts relate to one another via the cross-aspects between them. John, with Venus at 13 degrees Virgo; and Yoko, with Mars at 15 degrees in the same sign, is a very strong sexual link. The Venus-Mars conjunction is a sign of raw passion – you have a powerful desire for each other, emotionally and sexually. It isn’t necessarily an indication of longevity, or intellectual or financial compatibility, but, rather, the raw feeling that just makes you want someone.
Whilst those passions cooled off after a few years for John and Yoko (him going off on his drunken Lost Weekend when they separated), they were at first inseparable. Also, with that moon-Pluto opposition (which has been described as the ‘arrival of the erotic mother’) John had never had a love affair quite like this. From Yoko’s perspective, she was really looking for an intellectual/artistic equal with whom she could express her creativity.
Plus, John and Yoko (when they first met) were – famously – involved in various artistic and political activities, ones that could seem outrageous to a more conservative society. (Like releasing the album Two Virgins with them both naked on the cover.) It’s as if they came together simply to ‘shock’ the world– to make people wake up to what was going on in society (like their ‘lie in bed for peace’ campaign in 1969). This ‘need to shock’ is the result of Uranus (symbolising revolution, social change etc.) on Yoko’s chart, conjunct John’s ascendant, meaning he was deeply amused and excited by her, more than happy that she was ‘different’, eccentric, left-field, and certainly not like other women. It brought him a feeling of aliveness he’d rarely experienced before.
Then there is the Composite chart, one the craftiest ways of showing just what kind of partnership is formed from the union of two people – in fact, it’s a chart of the relationship itself. One thing jumps out when we look at John and Yoko’s Composite chart – the planet of power-hungry Pluto on the exact degree of the ascendant (a very sensitive placing). The American astrologer Robert Hand, who wrote the definitive text on Composite charts, Planets in Composite, said that Pluto on the Composite ascendant creates a relationship that ‘exists with the intention of making changes in the surrounding world’ and can ‘provoke strong antagonism in others.’ He adds that serious problems can occur if both partners resist the effects of Pluto; instead they should ‘go along with whatever is happening’.1
A better analysis of the relationship of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s I cannot think of. On that last point, I’m reminded of how Lennon was drawn back to Yoko (after their long separation) as if compelled by fate – and how Yoko (actually, against her will) let him return! Once they were together again, their lives went back to normal. It really did seem as if fate wouldn’t let them be apart! And in the early days, they were indeed trying to make ‘changes in the surrounding world’ with all of their peace campaigning and political protests. And of course, their relationship most definitely drew ‘strong antagonism’ from nearly everyone: the press, their families, their fans, even two of the Beatles.
There is one last item to consider – the first house Saturn/Jupiter conjunction in Taurus. If Saturn is where we realise our limitations in life, and Jupiter our propensity to expand and enlarge, then we might expect some kind of conflict. These two energies are antithetical yet locked-in together on Lennon’s chart, and it did indeed created a massive tension for him. He was known to have this duality about him – he could be despairing and pessimistic (as if anticipating the end of the world) and then be full of optimism and new possibilities. In short, he would go from one extreme to another (and his life as a whole reflected this).
The conjunction also reflects his ambivalence about what he’d really achieved, for he was never quite satisfied with the great things he’d accomplished, never quite able to appreciate how his creative gifts could bring pleasure to others (he even considered re-recording some of his best loved songs.) During the middle of the Beatles years, when he was a much-loved phenomenal success with an array of status symbols, he was actually still waiting for his ‘real life’ to begin – there was ‘something else’ he was meant to be doing. This nagging discontent is typical Jupiter-Saturn – what should be Jupiterian satisfaction is undermined by Saturnian perfectionism and fault-finding.
Maybe Yoko summed it up best when she said he was a ‘simple, complex man’. She meant that he had the same desires, appetites and failings as any other man, but that his personal history made his psychology very complex. This complexity, this being at odds with himself, I have tried to show in the interpretation above. Perhaps though, in the end, he really did get his wish and fulfil his life purpose as a sun Libra, for the abiding image of John Lennon, Peacemaker, won out over the angry (Aries rising) young man. When once asked what he’d most like to be remembered for, he promptly answered: the Great Peacenik. (Certainly not for all the wonderful songs he has left us.) His campaigns for World Peace conducted in full glare of the media are, of course, well known to history and definitely worthy of respect. It’s a Libran thing.
Here are the other Beatles’ birth charts: Paul, George and Ringo. Plus, why not take a look at my other Beatles articles on the pop culture site artsandesoterics.co.uk: a review of Strawberry Fields Forever, which has more on John Lennon’s birth chart and the astro-influences in force when he wrote this classic song. Plus, the Top Ten Recording Secrets of Sgt Pepper.
1. Hand, Robert, Planets in Composite : analyzing human relationships, Whitford Press 1975.
John Lennon/Yoko Ono Picture Credit: Joost Evers/Anefo