What is Keith Richards’ Horoscope like? Is the so-called Human Riff, the Most Elegantly Wasted Human Being Ever, a Rebel or a Reactionary? The typical Rebel is described as ‘bohemian’, ‘insubordinate’, ‘lawless’, ‘unorthodox’, ‘unruly’, and he’s been all of these at various times. But what about the opposite, Reactionary? This is a conservative, a diehard, someone conventional, old-fashioned, even.
Anyone studying Keith Richards’ Horoscope will find he possesses all of these characteristics, too! For all his rock-star cool and disdain for society’s rules, there is a strong traditional streak in him. As for being ‘lawless’, these days he revels in the images the popular media has created for him, especially that of Captain Edward Teague, Jack Sparrow’s father, in Pirates of the Caribbean. This is the boozy and mischievous (or should that be dangerous?) old reprobate whom no one dare cross. As one colleague remarked, ‘when you look Keith in the eye you know you’re not going to bulls**t him, and when you are going to bulls**t him, don’t look him in the eye’. Where does all this come from? It comes, of course, from Keith Richards’ Horoscope.
Firstly, Keith has Scorpio rising, which contributes so much to the intense, ‘dark’, even menacing image he likes to portray. There something unsettling about that knowing glint in his eyes, for it says: ‘don’t mess with me!’ He’s even admitted to trying to live up to this image, ever since he and Mick were arrested (and briefly incarcerated) by the Establishment in 1967 for minor drugs offences. He seems to bear quite a grudge against authority and the Establishment, and we’ll soon find out why.
Of course, he hasn’t always been a cross between Lord Byron and Count Dracula, in fact (whisper this) he started out in life as rather a mummy s boy, when his overprotective mother used to dote on him. Keith Richards’ Horoscope derives from a birthday on November 18, 1943, in Dartford, UK. This gives him sun in Sagittarius, moon in Virgo and an ascendant and Venus in Scorpio. A Sagittarian sun possesses a carefree boldness and optimism, a philosophical nature and that stereotypical love of freedom. (A sign that’s also tolerant of others, and allows them their freedom, too.)
Lo and behold, biographers have revealed all of these characteristics in Keith, at various times. (The best ever Stones’ biography – by the way – is by the veteran journalist Philip Norman.) We might also mention the Sagittarian tendency to be lucky. In his 2010 autobiography, Life, Keith refers to this strain of good fortune – which kept him from being arrested more times than would any other normal person, especially in light of smuggling drugs through various airport customs. This entails a great deal of foolhardy risk taking, also shown in his fatal tendency to try and drive a car when ‘under the influence’. He even had his son Marlon there to waken him up in case he nodded out at the wheel. But they do say Sagittarius is irresponsible don’t they!
When we look to Keith’s chart we see the Virgo moon making a conjunction with the MC. Ordinarily, moon in Virgo has a reputation for being analytical, well organised, finicky even, but look at the square aspect to Mars and Uranus, and the moon’s capacity for enjoying order is thrown into disarray. The moon is now all about the need for freedom, acting on impulse, but rarely feeling very settled emotionally or domestically, which found expression in his nomadic lifestyle as a rock star. The moon also shows what he’s attracted to in women. Moon square to Mars-Uranus (in the 7th house) indicates he’s consciously seeking, or simply attracts, fiery, free-spirited females. Though there may be little stability, at least things are rarely boring. (This need for excitement through others was fulfilled in his relationship with Anita Pallenberg, a sun Aries, and the mother of his eldest offspring. More of which, later).
Then there’s the other half of this picture, for Keith’s male role models have been affected (hampered even) by that Sun opposition to Saturn. This configuration doesn’t exactly promote easy self confidence, and Keith was known for being cripplingly shy and timid when younger. He was picked on at school, and wouldn’t conform to any kind of outside authority. In one half-serious interview, Keith was prompted to comment on how he’d had ‘a lot of problems with drugs’ to which he suavely replied: ‘No … a lot of problems with policemen.’ This intense dislike of authority figures and institutions includes his hatred of school – with its ‘Saturnian’ rules and punishments – which he said was always a mistake for him (being eventually expelled before being admitted to art school.) For good measure he added ‘if you’re going to kick authority in the teeth, you might as well use both feet.’
When Keith was young, his father, Bert, worked long shifts at a factory and he rarely ever saw him. The result – an early, undeveloped Father-Son relationship. He’s even admitted to being afraid of incurring Bert’s displeasure (and even felt a tremor of fear when re-uniting with him after thirty years!). All of this reflects that hard sun-Saturn angle: ‘During my childhood, to disappoint my Dad was devastating for me. I was frightened of his disapproval … The idea of not living up to his expectations could … devastate me,’ he wrote in Life. This sounds nothing like the typical carefree Sagittarian – but everything like someone with a hard Sun-Saturn aspect.
Keith Richards’ Horoscope – Love and Relationships
Let’s look at personal relationships. The often self destructive patterns of a twelfth house Venus in Scorpio were already in evidence in the late 1960’s. One is ‘out of touch’ with twelfth house planets, and so the Venus can work negatively, and ‘unconsciously’. It seems that Keith had his work cut out with a seemingly reckless, uncontrollable partner in blonde German model Anita Pallenberg. The Synastry, where two charts are compared and one studies their cross-aspects, reveals Anita’s Venus is opposite Keith’s Jupiter (she reaping the benefits of his generous nature). More crucially, Anita’s Saturn and Uranus oppose Keith’s Ascendant, as they fall across his asc.-desc. axis (in his seventh house). This contact can indicate a relationship with a solid bond (which they shared for about ten years), but it can also be fraught with unpredictable events. (Which it certainly was.)
No shrinking violet, Anita Pallenberg was a formidable social presence among the in-crowd in the mid-60’s: a highly intelligent and cultured model-actress from the Continent. Widely seen as a freedom-loving, high spirited wild card, with personal planets in both fire and air, she was also a manipulator, who enjoyed converting ‘innocents’ to hard drugs. ‘In another age, she would have been called a witch,’ is how one contemporary observer unflatteringly put it. Anita’s Mars is conjunct Keith’s Saturn, which can have the effect of her enthusiasms being rather dampened down, or her will being resisted by him. More importantly, Anita’s Neptune is square to Keith’s sun. Here is the Sun person falling under the spell of the Neptune person, carried away by their otherworldly, exotic charms. In turn, the Neptune person (Anita) idealises the Sun person’s uniqueness and creative gifts (they met at the height of the Stones’ power in the mid-60’s).
However, hard Neptune aspects can signify drugs, and by the mid 70’s Keith was essentially a junkie on heroin along with Anita, the daily fix being their only common interest. Significantly, Liz Greene says of this Neptune-Sun square that, after a time, the Sun person (Keith) feels ‘drained and used’, worn down by the other, which nicely sums up the end of his relationship with Pallenberg. But we should also mention his robust capacity for drugs, which can’t all have been unpleasant: ‘If you are going to get wasted, then get wasted elegantly,’ he once said. Let’s also remember Keith’s chart where Venus is in Scorpio – a very indulgent placing – and that Scorpio rising likes going to extremes.
Following his relationship with Anita, Keith met (and later married) the American model, Piscean Patti Hansen (thirteen years his junior). In this relationship, Saturn aspects are at work again, but the result is different. Their marriage (from 1983, and which produced two daughters) has turned out to be a more stable union. First, we have opposing Venuses (Patti’s at 11º Taurus; Keith’s at 11º Scorpio) which any astrologer will tell you is actually quite pleasant. It suggests a great amount of social harmony and shared interests, but the most important aspects involve our old friend Saturn – Patti’s is square to Keith’s moon and Midheaven. Obviously, this has the potential for the Saturn partner to be completely unsympathetic to the feelings of the moon partner (which we might expect) but this doesn’t seem to apply with Keith and Patti.
In fact, he’s cited amazement that she understands exactly where he is coming from. Saturn-moon can also mean that the Saturn person proves to be the ‘rock’, grounding the other person with a sense of security, roots and reality checks! They embody the role of the practical and capable one for the more sensitive and emotional (moon) partner. Keith once wrote in a notebook of what he finds attractive in his wife, that she’s: ‘smart, practical, caring, thoughtful … I must say that her practicality and logic confound me because she makes sense of my discursive way of life … her applying of logic goes against my grain, but how I appreciate it.’ (From Life). Here we find echoes of Keith’s Virgo Moon (the ideal qualities he seeks in females): he’s delighted to find that she is so clever, organised, helpful and practical – all typical Virgo characteristics!
Then there is Keith’s other marriage, one begun long before Anita Pallenberg or Patti Hansen arrived on the scene: the one with the other Glimmer Twin, Michael Philip Jagger. The Synastry between Mick and Keith shows how they were fated to meet, but also how they are very, very different. First off, Keith’s Sun (25º Sagittarius) is opposite to Mick’s Saturn (21º Gemini). Though a typical aspect for longevity, this opposition highlights their innate differences. It means Keith will at times come up against a serious ‘wall’ where Mick is unresponsive, unsympathetic and simply has his own agenda.
This emerged in their fall-out in the mid-80s, when Mick wanted to tour his solo album and seem to neglect the Stones entirely, enraging Keith. Additionally, Keith looks askance at Mick’s perceived ‘straightness’ or conventionality, and how he seems to suck up to the Establishment. (He became quite apoplectic when Mick accepted a knighthood, for example.) Plus Keith has resented Jagger’s perceived manipulative tendencies and control-freakery around the Stones. (Also a result of Keith’s Venus square to Mick’s Pluto – a power conflict on any chart.)
Adding to the picture is Keith’s moon square (and his Mars conjunct) to Mick’s Uranus. These two cross aspects show Keith’s tendency to detect Mick’s emotional distance (moon square Uranus) and unreliability, plus the always-on potential for sudden fireworks. It can also be seen as Keith’s fondness for the traditional, tried and tested; against Mick’s need for newness and change, for the Stones music to be always ‘relevant’ and modern sounding. (Like employing trendy new producers for albums, and having little interest in the Stones’ past).
When we add that one of the Composite charts for Mick and Keith has Saturn conjunct Mars (5th house), we see the tendency to block each other, to get in one another’s way, as the modus operandi of each partner is so different. (Keith likes a more ‘organic’ approach in the studio, working freely towards completing a song; Jagger likes more structured, finished results when recording.) The Derived Composite chart also has Jupiter and Pluto in the 7th house, which is obviously going to lead to power struggles, but also the realisation that the relationship itself is a crucial one. During the big 80’s fall out, Keith recognised he was locked in a vicious struggle with Mick, but that they had to stay together to ‘look after the baby,’ – i.e. the Rolling Stones.
As for Keith these days, its heartening to see how yesterday’s rock and roll rebel has turned into today’s elder statesman. The fact that he’s still here is remarkable, and he’s admitted to being a little too comatose for his own good in the past, ingesting various substances as if his body were a laboratory experiment. He says: ‘Some doctor [once] told me I had six months to live and [yet] I went to their funeral.’ This wry comment underlines his amazing longevity, for which we can thank that Saturnian element on Keith Richards’ Horoscope. Saturn, in the end, isn’t like the destruction of Pluto, the spaced-out trips of Neptune or the fiery rebellions of Uranus (whose energy quickly burns out). It’s about physical survival, pure and simple. Saturn’s reward (apart from a deal of worldly wisdom) is about still being alive!
We can also thank Saturn for the ease with which he’s experiencing his old age. (That, and his Sagittarian luck!) For the Sun-Saturn opposition means he’s grown to embrace his limitations and work happily within them. He’s always acknowledged, anyway, that he was never going to be a fast, flashy lead guitarist (like Santana, Jimmy Page or Jeff Beck) who can play a thousand notes a minute. Instead he remained content to ‘hold that rhythm down’ (his words). But I leave the last comments to the man himself: ‘About myself I have no great illusions. I know what I am. I know what I’m good at. I know what I ain’t. I’m always hoping to surprise myself. But I do have a love of music and I do love to communicate it, and that’s the best I can do, really. And I can raise a good family, too.’ In the end, as he has sagely observed: ‘Some things get better with age. Like me.’
Image Author: Siebbi. (Public Domain: Creative Commons.)