Astrological Musings

Kurt Cobain would have been 39 on Monday, February 27 2006. I am a little old for the Nirvana scene, but I was captivated by the song “Smells Like Teen Spirit. ” This haunting song became the anthem of the Uranus/Pluto conjunction generation (1964 through 1968). This generation has also been termed “Generation X” : the generation “who wanted to hop off the merry-go-round of status, money, and social climbing that so often frames modern existence.” Douglas Coupland, Generation X: Tales of an Accelerated Culture.

The period from 1964 through 1968 when Uranus and Pluto were conjunct in Virgo was marked by cultural revolution. Uranus is the revolutionary – the force that seeks to break up old patterns and create a new way. Pluto is Shiva – the force of destruction and regeneration. During the 1960s we saw the feminist revolution, where women learned to play a completely new role with and without families. We saw the “free love” revolution, where new contraceptives meant that intimate relationships could take place more easily without the ties of marriage. We saw the civil rights revolution, where through civil unrest and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 people of African descent gained new rights and a level of “black power” unseen in this country’s history. We saw the “flower power” revolution, where demonstrations for peace forced the ultimate end to the Vietnam war.

The dawning of the Age of Aquarius as immortalized in the musical “Hair” was short-lived, however; by 1969 the deaths of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy Jr. had brought despair on the country, and the Manson murders cast a pall on the glamor of the hippie lifestyle. The Woodstock festival in August of that year marked the end of the peace and love era and was followed shortly by the Rolling Stones concert at Altamont Speedway which was one of the most violent days in rock history, with four fans being brutally murdered.

Amidst this turmoil a generation of children were born, and Kurt Cobain became its unwilling spokesman (view chart here). A beautiful, sensitive wisp of a being, Kurt was born with the Uranus/Pluto conjunction exactly on his ascendant or rising sign, demonstrating that he carried the archetype of that cultural revolution as a part of his persona (ascendant). Uranus on the ascendant doesn’t quite fit anywhere, and Pluto brings constant endings and change and this combination certainly marked Kurt’s life. His parents divorced early, and he was shuttled back and forth between two regenerated families in which he never felt he belonged. Kurt was a quadruple Pisces, with Sun, Mercury, Chiron and Saturn in that watery sign. Pisces is the fish – swimming along the path of least resistance and seeking to merge in the cosmic ocean. In addition, Kurt had a Grand Trine in water between Saturn and Chiron, which were exactly conjunct in his chart, Neptune in Scorpio and Jupiter in Cancer. All this water bestowed enormous creativity and sensitivity, but also made it difficult for him to establish an identity of his own.

Kurt had five planets in retrograde motion, which is relatively rare (occurring in only 5% of all birthcharts according to one study). Natal retrograde planets operate on a more internal level, and five retrogrades can make it difficult for the individual to establish any perspective of an objective reality.

Kurt’s Uranus/Pluto conjunction was part of a larger and complex astrological system. Saturn was conjunct Chiron in his chart (see article below on Saturn/Chiron today) – a placement that can create health problems as Saturn puts pressure on us to face our emotional wounds (Chiron) so that they can be healed. Kurt had chronic bronchitis and stomach distress and some say narcolepsy. He also suffered from bipolar disorder as well – all were likely rooted in an energetic imbalance shown by the Saturn/Chiron conjunction which was exactly opposite (180 degrees) his Uranus/Pluto conjunction. The fact that these conjunctions were sitting on “angles” (ascendant/descendant) in his chart make them even more pronounced. The pressure of these planets operating against each other created enough energy to propel Kurt into a cascade of creativity and success, but unfortunately he did not have the tools to manage the energy imbalance that led to his heroin addiction and ultimately to his demise.

Kurt was riddled with conflicts – he wanted to be in a relationship but longed for his freedom. He worked hard for success but then felt it ruined his music. He see-sawed between the two poles of his oppositions without ever really coming to terms and a sense of balance.

Kurt’s transits in the months leading up to his death on April 5, 1994 show a large number of Jupiter transits. Jupiter transits typically bring a heightened sense of well-being and opportunity, and often a feeling of liberation. In the weeks before his death, however, Saturn (restriction and depression) made an approach to a conjunction with his Sun (life spirit) that may have caused him to feel there was no way out but death. Kurt overdosed on champagne and rohypnol that March, ending up in rehab from which he later escaped and days later he was found dead.

Although I was not a Nirvana fan, I am struck to tears by the tragedy of this brilliant life that for lack of understanding of the conflicting drives within him was unable to realize his true and amazing potential.

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