Below is the astrological birth chart for Sir Paul McCartney, author of classic songs such as ‘When I’m Sixty Four’, ‘Yesterday’, ‘Get Back’ and ‘Penny Lane’. From Cole Porter pastiches to soulful ballads; from straight rock and roll to catchy pop songs, McCartney has always been known for his eclectic output, for his variety of songwriting styles and we’ll soon see how pertinent this is to the forces at work on his chart.
First off, he’s a sun Gemini and, as such, possesses all the usual virtues of that sign – versatile, breezy, sociable and communicative, changeable, curious to know and learn. Gemini is also a symbol of the archetypal Eternal Youth – a role he vainly tried to maintain in his sixties when he met Heather Mills. At least Geminis possess the ability to be interesting to others. Not only interesting but funny. This sign not only has its share of famous comedians, but also tends to have all the best comic impressionists, with that easy facility to impersonate and take on the characteristics of others. (Way back, Paul used to entertain his classmates with his wickedly funny impressions.)
Then there is Gemini’s love of change and variety: and I’ve mentioned how it surfaces in his songwriting, in that he’s made a career of dipping into many different styles and genres. (Another type of mimicry.) There is even a powerful link between Gemini and the medium of the pop song – many of our best known pop songwriters are Geminis or Gemini rising (Bob Dylan, Brian Wilson, Ray Davies, Mick Jagger, Noddy Holder, Prince, Noel Gallagher) and it may have something to do with being able to condense something catchy and appealing into a three minute single.
When we look at Paul’s ascendant it’s in watery, sympathetic Pisces. The rising sign often has clues to your physical type, and Paul possesses those soulful ‘doe eyes’ so characteristic of this sign: slightly on the large size and always sublimely dreamy. You can see the effect in other famous Pisces types such as Drew Barrymore, Daniel Craig, Liza Minelli, Raquel Welch (Pisces rising) or the late Kurt Cobain.
Psychologically, Pisces is the zodiac sign that symbolises universal compassion and sympathy (they make excellent nurse, doctors, priests or counsellors). Paul’s conversion to vegetarianism (a reaction to the cruelties of the slaughter house) plus his seldom reported charitable donations are an expression of this. Pisces is a water sign, and that means being finely attuned to people’ s emotions, not just intimates and friends, but humanity in general! This sign is so sensitive to what others feel, that they try to be all things to all people – and we can see this in Paul too.
The Piscean-Gemini makes him highly adaptable, very diplomatic and extremely charming: witness his cheery thumbs up gesture for the press photographers. Not only is this the airy casualness of the sun sign, but he’s giving them what they want. This tendency to be all things to all people, and to fulfil his appointed ‘role’ as a celebrity, certainly helped the Beatles’ popularity in their earlier years. You could argue that it’s self interest and he’s simply furthering his career, but he’s also giving something back (Pisces) to the fans, and even the press. Just watch any of those old TV interviews with the Beatles and you’ll notice his efforts (far more than the other three ) to please and placate. He was their unofficial PR person – note how very different from George was Paul’s attitude to being interviewed in the Anthology series.
And yet Paul McCartney is just as egocentric and eager for the limelight as was his erstwhile bandmate John Lennon. He is, as they say, a born performer, and he’ll pick up a guitar and sing something at the drop of a hat. This has much to do with his moon in Leo the sign of creativity, showmanship, indeed – showing off! But he’s been known to seek approval and encouragement when you’d think he wouldn’t require it – he really needs to know that others appreciate his music! The moon is also conjunct Mars and Pluto in Leo. Mars is our will power, our ‘get up and go’ and sense of initiative; and Pluto is where we face our own (but usually others’) power. In combination, these three planets make for a cast iron will, a stubborn determination to succeed whatever the cost. As his biographer Philip Norman put it, Paul McCartney has always hated being told what to do! (This merely hints at his powerful sense of self and readiness to get his own way – very moon-Mars-Pluto!) It also makes it so he can also withstand extreme hardship if necessary. (Not that it usually is necessary, but this resolve would have come in handy when he was imprisoned in Japan for ten days after custom officials found drugs in his luggage.)
On this latter, his experience of a foreign jail (though initially a shock) was in time handled with humble acceptance – what will be, will be. (He even sang for the other prisoners!) Look at the sun-Jupiter conjunction – on a chart this aspect suggests a kind of helpful Providence, and it is certainly the cause of McCartney’s relentless native optimism. If difficulties arise, so what – it will all come right in the end. For McCartney, there is an innate attitude that bad things are simply not meant to happen to him!
Like all Geminis, he also gets bored very soon – especially with tedious practical details. In short, he can lack the more patient and thorough approach of other signs. This could be seen when Paul ventured out of his specialist area (i.e. making music) and into films. Two movies on his CV that were driven by him (Magical Mystery Tour and Give My Regards to Broad Street) both suffered from this lack of application with the new medium – and were heavily panned by critics. Clearly, trying to be jack of all trades (very Gemini) doesn’t always work so well!
Whilst Paul’s sun is in Gemini, it also falls in the 4th house, symbolising home and family, the personal domain we make for ourselves to keep out the external world. Unlike typical Geminis, Paul McCartney is a traditionalist here. That is, whilst he loves to be loved by the public, and despite appearances, he’s essentially a private person. It’s why he went so far as to buy up all that land in Scotland extending his Kintyre estate – and making it impregnable to the general public. (Not all millionaires are as careful about their privacy!) The 4th is also our roots, our parental background and more often than not, one’s father. Not just the experience of your father (as an authority figure) but the kind of father you would make yourself. Again, Paul is ‘old fashioned’ here – bringing up his children as normally as possible. (More than one associate has said what an excellent parent Paul has been – and kids of rock stars are notoriously neglected!)
And I Love Her
Next we turn to Paul McCartney’s love life. As we know, he had a well publicised relationship in the 1960’s with the young London actress Jane Asher, which unfortunately didn’t last more than about five years. In 1969, Paul wed the American photographer Linda Eastman, and the marriage lasted until her sad, untimely death in 1998. Venus, the first place to look for expectations and experiences in love, is in earthy Taurus. Paul McCartney’s ideal partner is someone with their feet on the ground, someone ‘natural’ and dependable who will be there. Venus in Taurus evokes the image of the sensual earth mother – the capable home-maker and provider of comforts. These are the qualities he found in Linda, but not Jane Asher. To discover why not, let’s look at some synastry.
McCartney – by his own admission – never truly ‘clicked with Jane Asher. This is no surprise, as there are no romantic or passionate cross-links between his chart and hers. What we do find is her moon (feelings, habits) conjunct his Saturn (rules, limitations, the ‘separate self’) and the result is her feeling that he was – on the whole – unsympathetic to her values and outlook on life. (And to her feelings, of course.) On the other hand, Paul’s moon (emotions) is conjunct Jane’s Pluto (power), so he was always keenly aware of her being a person in her own right. Certainly, there was no question of him ever controlling the relationship. He might – as he once admitted – admire gutsy women, but if anyone was really ‘in charge’ there it appeared to be Jane. Paul needed someone a little more compromising!
This he found in Linda Eastman (a sun Libran, unconnected with the Eastman-Kodak dynasty, by the way). Paul and Linda’s chart connect much more harmoniously: her moon (in deep, passionate Scorpio) is in opposition to his Venus in Taurus. Moon-Venus oppositions are hardly problematic, despite what ‘opposition’ seems to suggest, and it means she responds beautifully to his sociable, sensuous, down-to-earth charms. There is another cross correspondence when Linda’s Venus makes an exact square to Paul’s moon in showy, proud Leo. (Again, ‘hard’ angles between ‘soft’ planets pose no real difficulties.) The moon and Venus are our ‘feminine’ planets – the ways in which we just respond to life, and feel. So there’s hardly any ego here – neither person is trying to impress the other, they just ‘click’ instantly. (Something he couldn’t do with Jane Asher, remember.)
Additionally, Linda’s Venus makes an exact trine to Paul’s ascendant. Her Venus is attracted to his rising sign – his entire persona, from his ‘looks’, the things he says and how he dresses. In short, she was always his greatest fan, and these connections undoubtedly signify a very strong union – much stronger, in fact, than John and Yoko’s. As if this wasn’t enough, Linda’s Jupiter (luck and opportunity) opposes Paul’s MC (profession). Again, this is a good opposition – oppositions and squares are merely a measure of the intensity of the link between two planets; they may prove difficult to handle, but equally, they may not! Either way, her Jupiter is extremely helpful for his career in some way. Just knowing Linda (let alone being married to her) assisted Paul’s professional progress, and this, in fact, was borne out powerfully when the Beatles were breaking up. Linda’s father and brother were high-powered lawyers from New York, and it is they who provided invaluable legal assistance when Paul needed the dissolution of the Beatles partnership to free up withheld royalties (in a well publicised civil court case in 1971). In short, having such in-laws was a massive help to his career. He won the case, of course!
The there is the Composite chart which (as we might expect) highlights their emotionally close tie. The Composite chart is that of the relationship itself, a chart of the union of two individuals, and here we discover a moon-Neptune conjunction, one of the most powerful planetary links one could have. Consider the emotion of being in love, that rapturous sense of almost mystical one-ness with the other person. Now think of this broadly applying to a relationship – you could be forgiven for thinking you had found the ideal, everlasting ‘right one’. To be sure, partners who produce this aspect on a Composite chart may be under the spell of a lovely illusion, but in Paul and Linda’s case it seems they really did fulfil each other’s highest ideals in love.
The link between the sun (self) and Venus (the ‘other’) on the Composite chart only underlines this seemingly fated match. No wonder they barely ever spent one night away from each other. On the other hand, Paul and Jane Asher’s Composite chart tells a very different story, with Mars (ego, individuality) and Pluto (dominance, drastic change) in the Composite 7th house of personal relating. (The result of which was divisiveness.)
Additionally, with practical taskmaster Saturn in the Composite 10th house (career, public eye) it means Paul and Linda’s emotional bond was often inextricable from their professional goals. One maight consider how Paul (from early on in the relationship) insisted that Linda join his new group Wings, learn to play keyboards and go on tour with him? This wasn’t just a love affair/marriage, it was a working partnership that would ultimately make money (very Saturn!) from live performance (10th house) and album sales. So we had Paul and Linda: husband and wife; and Paul and Linda: jobbing musicians/writers/band members.
Now let’s look at a little AstroCartography, the ‘relocation’ chart technique that can be graphically expressed as a world map with both MC-IC and asc.-desc. axes running through it. The AstroCatrograph is drawn up to show locations on the earth’s surface where each planet is conjunct one of the four angles. Since McCartney’s natal sun is close to his IC, the solar MC-IC meridian on the map is located in Britain. But something interesting happens when we move or relocate to places close to or on that line – the line connects us to the influence of a particular planet. Interestingly, Paul’s choice of home after living on his Kintyre estate in Scotland was near the village of Peasmarsh, Rye in Sussex. The sun on a chart is where we ‘find ourselves’, where our individuality is best expressed, and thus it can be no surprise that Paul’s solar MC line on his AstroCartograph runs through this very place on a map of Britain (specifically, 0 deg./7 mins. East of Greenwich).
The legacy of John Lennon and Paul McCartney – the Composite Chart
Aside from Linda, there was, of course, another ‘marriage’ in Paul’ life – that other very crucial relationship with co-composer and soul brother John Lennon, without which there would have been no Beatles. Astrology is very revealing here, for the Composite chart for John and Paul’s partnership places the moon (feelings, the past) in the first house (some of the main characteristics of the relationship.) This means that John and Paul’s relationship would always be – first and foremost – a highly emotional one; one which affects each individual very deeply (as it would with a real brother), perhaps in ways neither can truly articulate. They could never be indifferent to one another – it was either love or hate! (Even then, only affected hate.)
Towards the final end of the Beatles, in 1969, John and Paul (despite their enormous success) soon started to feel that money concerns were really a major nuisance – only when they were creating music together did the old magic between them rekindle. Of course, they did eventually fall out – and money was one of the divisive factors. The planet of limitation and hard-nosed reality, Saturn, is placed appropriately in the Composite second house of finances and resources. Robert Hand says of this that ‘money is a possible source of problems to you [both] even if you have enough money,’ and the relationship may contain ‘all kinds of arguments concerning it.’1 This is exactly what happened when Paul sought to free himself of the Beatles’ business manager (whom the other three had signed up with) and the financially crippling situation he was in. In fact, he had to sue John, George and Ringo to do it.
But the most telling planet on the Composite chart is Mars (the planet of will and ego) which is also located in the first house. Fiery, pushy (and even selfish) Mars in the Composite first house has much to say about Lennon and McCartney’s personal relationship and what made it tick. Typical of Mars, this wasn’t a union of equals – from the first, McCartney was always viewed as a junior partner by Lennon, and so it’s just as well that Paul essentially hero-worshipped John in return. John was the undisputed leader from day one, pretty much always calling the shots (Mars is also the ruler of Lennon’s birth chart). When that competitive, ego-istic, unbalanced relationship started to tilt the other way (with McCartney assuming more control after Brian Epstein’s death) Lennon acquiesced for a time – until he went off with Yoko.
Nevertheless, this unequal partnership between John and Paul proved very effective throughout most of the Beatle years. According to astrologer Robert Hand, Mars in the Composite first house could work very well as a ‘professional association’, and if both people find ‘a common purpose’ the energy will be focussed on that instead of each other. As a result they will accomplish ‘a tremendous amount’ of work.2 That common purpose, of course, was the Beatles composing career and the collection of songs which evolved into an entire catalogue – or a ‘tremendous amount’. (It is also well known that Lennon and McCartney rarely ever wrote 50-50; in fact, they mostly composed separately – as if engaged in some sort of friendly competition. It made the songs better, as a result.) What should be obvious, though, is that (with divisive Mars) the seeds of conflict were ever present, and they duly emerged once that ‘common purpose’ was lost. Then, as was inevitable, the Beatles started to break up.
But it is odd to think that a planet symbolising separateness, ego division and independence was (in its own peculiar way) actually holding them together, in ‘friendly competition’! But it’s right there on Lennon and McCartney’s Composite chart!
1. Planets in Composite, Para Research, 1975.
Picture Credit: Oli Gill https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Paul_McCartney_black_and_white_2010.jpg