Whenever the Beatles’ personal characteristics are mentioned, Ringo always seems to get bottom billing – Ringo Starr’s Horoscope will tell us why. John is (typically) the aggressive intellectual; Paul the cute diplomat, whilst George is the ‘quiet one’ or the ‘mystic’. Commentators then run out of adjectives and pause, because Ringo is just … well … Ringo. He’s often described as having an ‘Everyman persona’, meaning he seems to possess traits with which everyone of us can, at times, identify. The point is, for a famous superstar, there appears something ordinary and ubiquitous about him, as he reflects back something of our common humanity. But Ringo is a rather complex, secretive individual whose still waters doth run deep. Let’s study Ringo Starr’s Horoscope, then, and find out why.
First, we know very little about Ringo’s inner, private life (and his real self) and this is simply because he has given very little away. (Sun Cancerians are very self-protective like this.) There are far fewer biographies about Ringo than the other three Beatles – not because he is uninteresting as a subject, but because he does so little to encourage them! He enjoys attention as much as the next person, but safeguards his personal world as if his life depends on it.
Richard Starkey was born on July 7th, 1940 which, in addition to giving Sun in Cancer, gives moon in Leo and Pisces rising. It’s that Pisces ascendant which creates his ‘Everyman’ image – and those ‘Neptunian‘ eyes (usually large, certainly compassionate and definitely ‘faraway’) so characteristic of the twelfth sign. It’s an archetype that suggests empathy for humankind, a sense of ‘yes I’ve been there too’. Because it’s Pisces, it’s also mixed with humility, charity and patience. All of this is because, like McCartney (with the same ascendant) Ringo is here to be all things to all people. This is only the beginning of the paradoxes on his chart, for – remember – he’s also a deeply private person. When we examine Ringo Starr’s Horoscope we will go beyond all the clichés about Cancerian passivity, sensitivity, sentimentality and powerful attachment to home (and Ringo certainly exudes all four) and, first off, have a look at his childhood.
As Beatle experts are well aware, the young Ringo was the product of an impoverished working- class upbringing. Not only was there little money about but Ringo was a sickly child (developing peritonitis on his seventh birthday, after which his primary education suffered). The Moon (in proud Leo) is involved in a powerful stellium with Mercury, Mars and Pluto. (With further stressful squares from Jupiter and Saturn.) The stellium alone is sufficient to reflect very intense feelings: someone who demands to speak from the heart, letting their emotions rule. People with moon-Mars conjunct can find it difficult to express their inner anger – this is often a leftover from childhood when the parents were in regular conflict. (Ringo’s mother and father became incompatible as partners when he was born.) The moon-Mercury-Mars-Pluto stellium (since moon and Pluto are involved) also indicates a much deeper archetypal theme at work – the Dominant Mother.
Ringo’s birth father actually appeared to be jealous of his own offspring and began to shirk parental responsibility. As a result, Elsie Starkey would bring up her son virtually alone. With that moon-Pluto conjunction the theme of the ‘strong woman’ was played out (as it did for Lennon with his moon-Pluto opposition), the all dominating, powerful materfamilias who looms large in an individual’s life. In Bob Spitz’s Beatles biography the author perceptively notes that Ringo as a baby, ‘was Elsie’s boy, from head to toe, and she doted upon him to the point of preoccupation.’ As for the absent father, Ringo noted that his mother ‘filled me up with all the [bad] things about him’, in Spitz’s words, poisoning the waters. This is a perfect metaphor for the Terrible Mother, the possessive matriarch symbolised by moon-Pluto.
Even so, Elsie Starkey remarried in April 1954 when Ringo was 14 and he obtained a wonderfully indulgent stepfather. Significantly, transiting Jupiter was then approaching a conjunction with Ringo’s IC – this supportive planet was about to enter the fourth house (roots, family, father-figure) the following month. We can also attribute this former rupture in the family unit to the wide lunar square to Jupiter-Saturn (an aspect of extremes, of polarisation, opposites). But on the one hand, his father essentially rejects him; yet is later replaced by a kind and supportive patriarchal figure ready to make amends for his predecessor.
Mars-Pluto usually has a reputation for a strong will, even ruthlessness, but it can also work to obliterate the will if one’s family background was fashioned by pain. We can only guess at the hurt that Ringo subconsciously carried at not being wanted by his father, hence he’s said: ‘I’m not really a strong willed person… I go along with whatever is happening’. One finds this ‘anything for a quiet life’ approach prevalent with many Cancerians. Even when badly behaved George Harrison was tempting Ringo’s wife into an illicit affair (more of which later), there is no mention, anywhere, of any retribution from Ringo.
‘I’m very emotional,’ he has once said, and this is pure understatement. His moon-Mars conjunction bespeaks a feeling nature that is ultrasensitive to atmosphere. He has a radar for conflict and, for Ringo, conflict is to be avoided – if possible. Indeed, it’s why he once walked out on the Beatles – in August 1968 – simply because he couldn’t take the heavy atmosphere when they were making the White album. There was plenty happening here astrologically: that month, Uranus was transiting the seventh house of relationships and approaching a square to the MC. What made it easy for him to leave (on Aug. 22nd) was transiting Mars square to his Jupiter (‘fortunate action’) though he returned the next month, welcomed back with his drum kit covered in flowers.
Ringo’s natal Venus is in playful, inquisitive Gemini (on the IC) where it squares the ascendant. This is typical of the easy-going charmer and pleasure seeker who wants to be liked, but also keep the peace. (An aspect that gains him much popularity and, furthermore, made him the perfect mediator during the Beatles’ later personal conflicts). But this contact to the IC (the Father) has a deeper resonance, for it could be said to signify where he got back the affection denied by his real father – when that loving, supportive figure entered the family circle (IC).
Venus in Gemini has also a freedom loving, butterfly-like approach to relationships that might conflict somehow with the steady, committed needs of Cancer. His first wife Maureen Cox (who sadly passed away in 1994) was a sun Leo – which fits neatly into the astrological scheme of things. Ringo’s moon (his inner ‘image’ of the Feminine and what it represents) is in Leo, hence his strong real-world attraction to a lady Leo whom he wed in 1965. There is a certain stubborn ‘lordliness’ about the moon in attention-seeking Leo, with its sense of entitlement and rather fixed, ‘old fashioned’ ideas about the opposite sex. Hence, he once said: ‘I don’t think women like to be equal. They like to be protected and in turn men like to look after them’.
His relationship with Maureen suggests that ‘strong woman’ theme symbolised by moon-Pluto. For him, she was the One and with her Mars and Venus on his descendant, the sexual chemistry was strong. Maureen’s sun on Ringo’s moon also indicates a powerful attraction, but the moon individual in this pairing is always the more ‘responsive’, emotional one – maybe Maureen had considerable power in the relationship. Natally, with her Leo sun and Scorpio moon (square to Saturn, plus Mercury conjunct Pluto) this was a person self-possessed, secretive and emotionally guarded. Though we don’t have a birth time for Maureen, the Midpoint composite for her and Ringo gives a Venus-Pluto conjunction, suggesting the relationship might be used as a tool for one to manipulate the other.
However, the marriage was essentially doomed. The cause? Infidelity. In early January 1974, at a dinner party at George Harrison’s mansion, the host announced (with Ringo present) that he was in love Maureen. Harrison had already been having an affair with her in late 1973 and, by January 1974, on Ringo Starr’s Horoscope, Saturn natal Venus (by conjunction) underlining the fact that his marriage was in trouble. Indeed, it did not survive the betrayal.
Ringo did, however, finally meet the ‘love of his life’ in actress Barbara Bach, a sun Virgo with serious old Saturn on the Cancer ascendant. They met on the set of the comedy Caveman when it began filming in February, 1980. According to press reports, after five days Ringo knew he was deeply in love. Astrologically, Ringo’s Uranus half-return had been operative the previous month (re-occurring in April). The symbolism was perfect: it was time for something new and exciting to occur – a complete lifestyle change. However, the more poignant transit occurred when Ringo first met Bach on that film set in February. This was Saturn was crossing Ringo’s descendant (exact on the 25th), indicating that he was more than ready for a committed, serious and durable partnership. Later that October, enabling Jupiter moved into Ringo’s seventh house (relationships), no doubt helping things go faster. Unsurprisingly, they were married in spring 1981.
On Ringo Starr’s Horoscope, Neptune is conjunct the descendant, the cusp of the seventh house of marriage and ‘other people’ in general. Neptune is where we seek our perfect, romantic ideal; it’s where we long to escape, even, and cleave to a rose tinted view. With Neptune there are no boundaries, and Ringo’s need to be totally immersed in a relationship emerged when he noted that: “I want to live every minute with Barbara.”. Further, his natal Neptune is square to Venus, which suggests someone overly addicted to glamour, but which he certainly found in the very glamorous actress Barbara Bach. (Interestingly George Harrison had a harsh Venus-Neptune aspect and married a glamorous model, also.)
However, it’s a matter of public record that they both succumbed to alcohol addiction, one journalist noting that Ringo ‘dragged Barbara down into a pit of lethargy,’ and as Ringo himself observed: “We would sit around for hours and talk about what we were going to do, and of course I’d get so bleeding drunk I couldn’t move.” The seeds of Ringo’s alcoholism were planted after the Beatles broke up (late 1969) and about which he felt “absolutely lost,” and he’s admitted to being mostly drunk in the two subsequent decades. His sense of loss at the demise of the Beatles was, therefore, more intense than he was admitting – possibly to himself.
Of course, the escape into drugs is a typically Neptunian way to avoid facing the reality about one’s life. Though at the lowest point Ringo was – allegedly – drinking 16 bottles of wine a day, in October and November of 1988 he and Barbara attended a detoxification clinic. Interestingly, Ringo Starr’s Horoscope has powerful transits operative at this time: Saturn conjunct MC (exact = 24th Oct.), followed by transiting Uranus conjunct MC (29th Oct.) plus transits of Saturn to Venus (cnj.) and a powerful Pluto to Saturn (opp.) on November 6th. No astrologer could be the least bit surprised – Saturn is the planet of self discipline par excellence; Uranus is very impatient to turn over a new leaf and the MC symbolises the overall life direction. Rehab was crucial to his future! Importantly, Pluto-Saturn will move heaven and earth to get something done once the desire is there.
A brief look at the Synastry for Ringo and Barbara shows his Sun square to her Mars, and his moon and Mars conjunct her Saturn. One might suspect that this latter pairing would prove disastrous – what with the moon person’s emotional and ego needs not being met by the Saturn person, not to mention falling out all of the time (Ringo’s sun square Barbara’s Mars). But the truth about Saturn’s role in Synastry is that without a strong Saturnian placement there’s very often no ‘glue’ to bind the relationship, no firm basis upon which to set it. For Saturn helps to root things in everyday reality; here it is in a relationship which has most certainly endured through time– another Saturn theme.
Finally, there is the event which changed his life. Much ink has been spilled on how Ringo must take the prize for ‘luckiest man in showbiz’ at signing on for the Beatles on the eve of their rise to fame. If the signifier of an external ‘fate’ can be found on Ringo Starr’s Horoscope, I would argue that the seventh house Vertex (conjunct Neptune) is something like it. The Vertex point – derived from the intersection of the Prime Vertical and the Ecliptic – has been interpreted in connection with compelling, destined or ‘fated’ encounters.
In the larger scheme of things, the Vertex signifies something the person is ‘required’ to do with respect to those fated meetings. With the Neptune conjunction in the house of ‘the public’ (seventh), Ringo is thus here to enact a Neptunian ‘role’, one of which is being a kind of vessel for people’s expectations, a mirror for the hopes and dreams of others. It was his ‘fate’ to try and live up to such expectations as a Beatle, to play his part as the lovable Everyman – even though that role was thrust upon him.
Not only was fate seemingly at work, Ringo himself has conceded a certain amount of fatalism, of submitting to the forces that be. ‘God watches out for me and laughs when I make plans,’ he has said, alluding to an old Yiddish adage. Back in 1967 he had already subscribed to the idea of pre-destination: ‘I think that when you are born there is a very complex pattern that is planned out for your whole life. The major decisions are yours but if you decided to do one thing, then everything that happens to you because of that decision has been planned out in advance … things are planned to happen, whatever I do.’ This sums up perfectly the theme of Ringo Starr’s Horoscope, especially that Vertex/Neptune in the seventh. At least he managed to fulfil his lifelong ambition of becoming (in his words) ‘sort of unforgettable’!
This is an edited version of Ringo Starr – The Public-Private Everyman, which appeared in Vol. XXXIII (no. 3) of Diamond Fire magazine. Diamond Fire can be found on Facebook.