Usually referred to as ‘the Serious One’, or the ‘Quiet One’, he was also the ‘mystical One’. Of course, the Beatles’ lead guitarist really needs no introduction: we’re going to look in depth at George Harrison’s horoscope. But what was he really like? Mystic or Materialist? Or both? What made him the person he was?
Born with sun and Venus in Pisces (in Liverpool, February 25th, 1943) he also had the ascendant (the ‘outer personality’) and the moon in Scorpio. These are water signs, symbolising deep feeling, the emotions and a psychic or intuitive way of handling life. This is someone essentially warm, easily hurt, deeply sensitive and very emotional. George was also an intensely private person, another water attribute: they need their own ‘space’ and a psychically ‘clean’ environment to thrive. Water signs are thus highly self-protective, often preferring peace and quiet to noisy outdoor spaces. (The need for privacy – in fact – became a serious issue for George once the Beatles had shot to fame.)
On George Harrison’s horoscope, with moon on the ascendant, he had a protective upbringing – so typical of the youngest child, and was always very close to his parents. I’ve known many people, personally, with the moon ‘rising’ and they all have extremely strong bonds to their families, emotionally and geographically. George actually installed his older brothers at Friar Park, his £140, 000, 120-room mansion in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire. Here, he could insulate himself from a crazy world he barely understood (or wanted to). Later, he brought his second wife, Olivia, to live there. (Their son, Dhani, was born on August 1st 1978.) His Pisces sun (in the 4th house – roots) accentuates links to home and family, and he would indeed spend his most meaningful, ‘quality’ time (sun) there, with close friends and loved ones. He even installed a recording studio so he wouldn’t have to leave the estate!
Patti Boyd, his first wife, (whom George married in 1966) was actually responsible for Harrison’s life long love of all things Indian. After attending meditation classes, she got George interested and he would soon embrace Eastern mysticism, its accompanying, exotic musical heritage, and ultimately, Hinduism itself. With George’s Venus (relationships) in Pisces it’s no surprise his first wife was a Piscean, too. We’re attracted to people who resemble our Venus signs, since they possess qualities that most appeal to us. With Pisces, she would ideally be the kind of glamour girl who’s just stepped from a dream or a film set. Luckily, for George, she fitted the bill – she was a professional model. Being glamorous was part of her job. (And they did, indeed, meet on a film set – for A Hard Day’s Night.)
But on George Harrison’s horoscope, Venus in Pisces is also opposite Neptune (spirituality). This emphasises the search for divine (i.e. unattainable) female perfection. Such a person is looking for the romantic ideal in love; there’s a strong weakness for beauty and one is often ‘in love with love itself’. But when the ideal becomes unsustainable, the being ‘in love’ phase wears off and the real person appears (with their human faults), Venus-Neptune can feel disillusioned that this isn’t the heavenly match one had hoped for. This is likely what happened at the core of George’s and Pattie’s final break-up in about 1974.
One way of dealing with this broken illusion is to look for someone else to live out the fantasy, to get back that heady rush of being ‘in love’ again. Another way is to retreat into oneself, and he did this many times through meditation. This was one of Boyd’s complaints – that the marriage suffered as George seemed more interested in his religious contemplations. Being Pisces, the urge to transcend everyday reality and its demands was a strong force in his life. It’s almost as if he wanted to live on another plane and avoid material things altogether.
However, Harrison’s life turned on the struggle between spirituality and the material world, between ‘reality’ – with its rules and limitations – and that other, limitless metaphysical realm. Remember the Pisces glyph where one fish descends to the plane of matter – in which we have our bodily incarnation? A fish also succumbing to all those myriad, earthly temptations. For one, he wasn’t above the odd extramarital fling, such as embarking on an affair with Ringo’s wife, taking hardly any steps to conceal it. Was this some kind of challenge to Boyd – ‘lets see how much she really cares’? He wasn’t unaware of these warring sides to his character, once admitting: ‘I seem to be going round in circles. I have periods when I just can’t stop chanting [Hare Krishna] and then other periods where, you know, I turn into a demon again.’
Let’s not forget that both Scorpio and Pisces are signs of extremes, and this is just what we find on George Harrison’s horoscope. Self denial all the way down to sheer over-indulgence. When he wasn’t meditating he wasn’t averse to knocking back a bottle of brandy a day in the early 70’s. George was once described as a ‘very extreme character’ by his bass player, Klaus Voormann, whilst Pattie noted that he was ‘extreme, always extreme.’ This is the Scorpio factor, and Scorpio never does things by halves!
He also had Mercury (communication) opposite to Pluto (power) which is Scorpio’s ruler. Here, in his quest for the unvarnished truth, he was impelled to cut through the bullshit and say it like it is – or at least how he saw it. Beatles PR Tony Bramwell noted that George ‘was pretty blunt’ whilst the first Beatles manager Alan Williams said he was ‘nice to get on with, but wouldn’t suffer fools. He always had a sharp tongue’. George once remarked to John Lennon that Cynthia possessed teeth like a horse, and even insulted Yoko Ono to her face.
On George Harrison’s horoscope, Mercury opposite Pluto made him a little stubborn and fixed, with a heavy dose of self righteousness. He drew criticism for his tendency to preach and seem rather holier-than-thou, some of which appeared in his solo work. But he had to do things his way – Sun in an exact quincunx to Pluto shows his reluctance to accept outside authority, his resistance to being moulded by others. By authority. Unsurprisingly, he hated having to go to school. This is emphasised by the Sun (self) in square to the Saturn/Uranus conjunction. (This Saturn/Uranus aspect is known for creating impossible tensions out of the need for personal freedom; and the need to be effective in the material world. Between chaos and order; rebellion and conformity.)
With the sun square Saturn-Uranus, therefore, he was always pushing against the mundane world, with its tiresome demands and responsibilities. There’s also a sense that he tried to avoid this a little too much: it backfired on him spectacularly when he was ripped-off by a formerly trusted business aide from Handmade Films – George had to sue him for millions of dollars. (Note the sun’s square aspect to Saturn-Uranus in the 8th – the house of monetary ties and ‘big business’ which, in the old astrological texts, would have been described as ‘financially ruinous’.)
Sun square Saturn-Uranus can also be very hard on itself, eschewing sentiment and nostalgia, for example. He certainly tried to be utterly realistic – even dismissive – about the Beatles when they were breaking up. Always the one most eager to move on afterwards, he even left the band temporarily during the Let It Be sessions in early 1969. His brilliant 1970 album, All Things Must Pass, (by far the best solo Beatle disc) seems not to regret the passing of the Fab Four at all, but is more like a relieved, dispassionate farewell. As if he’s glad to be finally free.
GEORGE HARRISON’S HOROSCOPE – ALL THINGS MUST PASS
George Harrison’s horoscope shows someone bent on plumbing the depths of reality, to understand and embrace what Life is really all about (in a way none of his fellow Beatles did ). And as we’ve seen, it embodies the paradox between the spiritual and the earthly – between the pursuit of God and eastern enlightenment, simplicity and peace; and the fast, indulgent rock and roll lifestyle (and its attendant temptations). George actually owned some of the most ridiculously expensive cars in the world. But Pisces is one of the most complex signs, and with strong Scorpio, this is intensified.
With his Pisces sun he possessed an empathetic, charitable streak and the sense that – where there is suffering – something has to be done about it. (He preceded Live Aid by fourteen years when, to help famine victims, he staged the momentous ‘Concert For Bangla Desh’ in New York in 1971.) His spiritual quest, arguably, brought him his greatest happiness – with Mars (will) opposite to Jupiter (expansion) in the 9th house he was drawn to the Search for Truth, Meaning and Purpose and duly embraced Indian philosophy, music and culture. Thus he’s left us with Beatles classics like ‘Within You Without You’ and ‘The Inner Light’, plus his solo classics like ‘My Sweet Lord’ and ‘Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)’. Above all, he needed to believe in something higher: ‘I know that when you believe it’s really nice. Not believing it’s all confusion and emptiness’.
In 1974 he met his second wife and soul-mate Olivia Arias who has the Sun in Taurus, which chimed perfectly with his Scorpio ascendant. (All Scorpio risings have Taurus – the opposite sign – on the seventh house cusp, which describes what we’re instinctively drawn to. She would bring some much needed, down to earth stability to his life.) They both fell in love with one another very quickly, much to Olivia’s amazement.
One of George’s more admirable traits (for me, at least) was his uncompromising nature. Since we both share the same rising sign, I quite like that cynical, curmudgeonly side he had! However, let’s remember him for that beautiful depth and compassion for others’ suffering. Recall, too, the guy who played the excellent solo on ‘Something’, and that he takes the prize for creating the best ever solo Beatles LP. But, also, let’s not forget his wonderful, satirical sense of humour, for George was – by far – the funniest Beatle. (It was George who, wholeheartedly, endorsed Eric Idle’s late 70’s Beatles spoof, The Rutles.) Friends with the other Pythons, he even mortgaged his home for four million dollars so that Life Of Brian could get made and he could then go and see it! Eric Idle noted afterwards that it is, to this day, the ‘most anyone has ever paid for a cinema ticket!’
His funniest remark, however, came at the start of the Beatles’ studio career at Abbey Road. Listening to a playback of an early recording session, George Martin asked the Beatles if there was anything they didn’t like. George, at once, drily answered: ‘Well,for a start, I don’t like your tie,’ at which they all fell about. And so, George Harrison wasn’t always the Serious One.
This is an edited version of George Harrison – Mystic or Materialist? which appeared in Vol. XXXIII (no. 1) of Diamond Fire magazine. Diamond Fire can be found on Facebook.
Check out other Beatles’ astro-profiles on astro.nu:
Quotes are from: Behind The Locked Door, Graeme Thomson, Omnibus Press, 2013.
George Harrison image – Public Domain