(Guest blogger, the astrologer Carole Bone has graciously permitted me to re-publish her excellent article on the late Kurt Cobain.)
If one was to seek a definition of Nirvana, it is likely you would find something along the lines of the following;- A transcendent state in which there is neither suffering, desire, nor sense of self, release from the effects of karma and the cycle of death and rebirth. A state of perfect happiness; an ideal or idyllic place. This description also relates to Astrological Neptune.
In naming Nirvana, Neptune’s presence was immediately stamped on the innovative nineties grunge rock band by its charismatic lead singer, Kurt Cobain. Neptune’s influence is intuitive, compassionate, empathic and idealistic. The lyrics of artists who have its signature etched in the horoscope are often emotive, revealing the deep waters of their own emotional depths and vulnerability. No matter the genre, a boundless longing permeates to awaken feelings, stirring the soul and merging singer, song and listener. Kurt’s lyrics are diffuse, vague and hotly debated as to meaning but many say they illustrate a profound understanding of the drug culture and identity confusion of a generation that was born of the idealism of the hippy era.
Kurt Cobain – Early Years
Born and raised near Seattle, Washington, Kurt remembered his early childhood fondly, occupying his time drawing and singing to the songs of the Beatles but was diagnosed as a hyperactive pre-schooler and was given the amphetamine-based drug, Ritalen as a child. The side effects of the drug were countered with sedatives to help him sleep at nights. Aged 9 his parents divorce in 1975 was an emotional holocaust for Kurt who always felt he was somehow to blame.
Afterwards his mother had violent, abusive relationships, drank heavily and Kurt went from a normal student to a troubled student. Filled with anger and confusion he became sullen and antagonistic to his bewildered mother who finally sent him to live with his father. He continued to rebel by refusing to share in his father’s enthusiasm for sports. Joining the junior high wrestling team he allowed his opponent to win while a disappointed father watched on. Kurt dropped out of high school before graduation, refusing his two state art scholarships, skipped college and worked part-time as a janitor at his high school. He took drugs, drank, vandalized cars and lived life on the streets.
Here we can see Neptune’s negative signature developing. When empathic understanding for others blurs relationship boundaries, it can leave the individual feeling overwhelmed and “all at sea” in their personal lives. Feelings of confusion, blame and sacrificing the self is common and often drink or drugs are used to soften life’s “hard edges”.
Kurt Cobain, Neptune and Fame
Kurt found enjoyment and expression in music, main influences were The Beatles, AC/DC, Queen, Aerosmith, The Pixies, Velvet Underground, The Sex Pistols and The Clash. In 1987, Cobain and bassist school friend Krist Novoselic formed Nirvana and were signed by Geffen records in 1991. Their most famous album “Nevermind” sold over 10 million copies worldwide. Kurt was singled out by music critics, shooting him to superstar status but his personal life continued to erode. Uncomfortable with his fame, he continued his drug habit of heroin and alcohol.
He met Courtney Love and the couple bonded over music and their mutual drug habit. They married on Feb 24th 1992 but their addiction to drugs fuelled fights between them and was difficult to conquer. In March 1994 Kurt was rushed to hospital in a coma after an unsuccessful suicide bid in which he washed down about fifty prescription painkillers with champagne. The suicide bid was officially called an accident.
On April 8th 1994 his body was found in the Cobain’s Seattle home. Police believe he died of a self-inflicted shotgun wound to the head three days earlier. His death shocked the nation and several distraught teenagers in America and Australia also committed suicide. Controversy surrounded his death, not everyone believed it was suicide.
He left a one page note written in red ball pen point pen addressing his personal demons, unhappiness, addictions, discomfort with celebrity status and domestic disputes.
Kurt Cobain’s Birth Chart
The chart for Kurt Cobain is strongly tied to Neptune with four planets in Pisces plus Chiron and a striking 8 planets in water. Nine trines forming a Grand Water Trine: Neptune trines Jupiter trines Saturn/Venus/Mercury/Chiron. The angular stellium, in Pisces, is opposed by Pluto/Uranus which is pinned tightly to the Virgo ascendant. The angular stellium in Pisces, is opposed by Pluto/Uranus which is pinned tightly to the Virgo ascendant. Plus, Neptune squares the Sun and is overall ruler of the chart.
The heavy water chart with particular emphasis on Neptune/Pisces suggests enormous wells of sensitivity and creativity, a longing to belong and merge with something greater than the self. There is a yearning to connect to someone or something higher combined with a receptive perhaps over sensitive Cancer Moon and the passion and bite of Mars in Scorpio.
Feelings run deep for the water signs sometimes to the point of being all-consuming and with the element of air virtually missing in his chart Kurt Cobain would have had a hard time dealing with others in a light or superficial manner.
The grand trine in water reveals powerful possibilities and latent talents. It suggests an idealistic and romantic personality capable of loving and feeling not only at a personal level but for mankind in general. There is much creativity, love, empathy and good in this configuration however Grand Trines can often indicate that those talents are unrecognized or wasted if there is insufficient drive to put them to practical use.
The Ascendant represents amongst other things our physical appearance to the world. Virgo is the polar sign of Pisces and its own hardest critic, there is often a humbleness and lack of self-confidence. Uranus/Pluto tightly conjunct the Virgo Ascendant suggests an unusual and contradictory need to project himself as unique and deep, yet in a modest (Virgo) way – a “glamourless” image.
The tight conjunction is split by house, Uranus in the first is readily visible as the wildman in such videos as “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and the desire to bring change, to go against what was expected of him and be contrary would be a strong one. The simultaneous need to be one with humanity and rebel against society as shown by the opposition to the angular Pisces stellium would have been the source of much inner conflict and restlessness.
Any planet in the Neptune/Pisces associated 12th house can be a point of much preoccupation and can also suggest a drive to master the principle concerned often with much trouble and pain. It is a powerful drive but being in the twelfth house it is under the surface and on the verge of expression.
Pluto here –ruling death and rebirth, gives a strong need to regenerate and a striving for meaning and purpose. It is dramatic and needs to get to the bottom of things, to bring light to inner darkness. If not used constructively it can be self-destructive and there can be overwhelming feelings of purposelessness. There is a dark brooding quality which is obsessive, a desire for power and a tendency to self analysis that can be counter productive.
Kurt Cobain’s lyrics and later his journals all expressed a deeply withdrawn, extremely sensitive personality and all the anger, pain and cynicism of someone who felt very alone and disconnected. Even though those very feelings managed to speak to a massive audience it was in many ways one-way and at a collective not a personal level.
Since the 12th house rules among other things isolation we can see how a strong Neptune/Pisces/Water emphasis would be fitting for Kurt’s feelings of desolation and hopelessness.
Kurt Cobain and Neptunian Imagery
Their most famous album “Nevermind” shows a child swimming underwater.
There is a “hidden” track on the album called Endless, Nameless.
Another album is called In Utero – latin for in the uterus
IN HIS SUICIDE NOTE:
“…..but I still can’t get over the frustration, the guilt and empathy I have for everyone. There’s good in all of us and I think I simply love people too much, so much that it makes me feel too fucking sad. The sad little, sensitive, unappreciative Pisces, Jesus man”
Neptune’s gifts often entail some kind of sacrifice or loss. With great artistic talent often comes great sensitivity and Kurt’s suicide illustrates that tragically. The Singer/Songwriter, Don McLean who has Neptune as a part of a stellium in Libra, perhaps put it best when he wrote in one of his most famous songs about artist Vincent Van Gogh, also strongly Neptunian, this lyric;-
“This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you”.
© Carole Bone – all rights reserved (permission to reproduce has been given to this site by the author)
Images courtesy of: Bill Donald Bailey and MïK Watson (Creative Commons License)
Kurt Cobain’s Wikiquote Page