Oh My Stars

John Nash astrology chart accidentLast time, I looked at how John Nash’s most famous contribution to mathematics could help you deal with this week’s astrological transits. This time, I’d like to look more at the man himself. Born June 13 1928, 7:00 AM, Bluefield West Virgina, John was about as famous as mathematicians get. This is in large part due to the movie A Beautiful Mind, which chronicled (in fictionalized form) his struggle with schizophrenia. So let’s have a look at what made John unique.

First of all, Nash’s intelligence. We generally agree in Western Astrology that intelligence is largely a matter of Mercury and the Third House. Nash’s Third House (by Whole Signs) is Virgo, which is ruled by Mercury, and his Mercury is prominently placed in the First House, conjunct Pluto. Thus “piercing intellectual insights.”

(Here’s where those who use Placidus Houses and I part company. They’ll look at that Mercury/Pluto above the horizon and say “well, that’s the Twelfth House, so there’s the mental illness.” More on that in a bit).

Vedic Astrology places a certain emphasis on the role the Moon plays in consciousness that Western astrology tends to overlook, and as the Ascendant ruler, John’s Moon takes on added importance. John Nash’s Moon is in Aries, in the Tenth House, conjunct Mars. This means The Moon is conjunct the ruler of the Tenth (Mars) which is also in the Tenth, so that shows us that he would make a career using his brain.

As for John Nash’s schizophrenia? That’s tougher to spot, but perhaps not entirely for astrological reasons.

I took a couple of years of Psych in college, and one of the first things we learned is that mental illness is largely a matter of cultural definition. It seems that astrology is much better at predicting what a person will do or how they act or even what they look like than it is at predicting what’s actually going on inside a person’s mind. I can look at a birth chart and come up with general indicators of intelligence, but not tell how sane a person is by our standards. For example, were Mr. and Mrs. Einstein to bring me their baby boy’s birth chart, I would be able to look and quickly say he was a humanitarian, that he would travel, and that he wouldn’t be the world’s sharpest dresser. And yes I could tell he would be fairly intelligent. But I couldn’t tell you that he would be universally hailed as one of history’s greatest geniuses.

If a dozen clones of John Nash were born at the exact same place and time as he was, and you distributed those clones throughout various world cultures, all of them would be very smart guys. He would probably be a mathematician or scientist of some sort in many cultures. But some cultures would have locked him up, some would have made him a shaman, and some might have killed him for being demon possessed. Again: astrological there are some indicators of “mental imbalance”… but overall astrology has a much tougher time spotting serious mental illness than you might think.

Whether this is a limitation of astrology or a limitation of the culture we are in and its definitions of what “mental health” is, I leave to you.

One of the things that was really remarkable about John Nash is that he was able to overcome his mental illness largely through application of his intelligence. In his own words:

“After my return to the dream-like delusional hypotheses in the later 60s I became a person of delusionally influenced thinking but of relatively moderate behavior and thus tended to avoid hospitalization and the direct attention of psychiatrists… I began to intellectually reject some of the delusionally influenced lines of thinking which had been characteristic of my orientation. This began, most recognizably, with the rejection of politically oriented thinking as essentially a hopeless waste of intellectual effort.”

Think about THAT next time you’re arguing about politics with someone on Facebook.


As for the circumstances of John Nash and the death of him and his wife in a taxi accident in New Jersey, as I have written here previously… like it or not, yes astrology can provide definite indicators of risk. The calculations are long and difficult, but genuine indicators of periods of risk can be seen in the birth chart and in the transits. But as with so many things in life, there are no guarantees.

Gosh, you’d almost think there was some sort of Higher Power involved with these things, wouldn’t you?

Despite that, when it comes to the death of John Nash and his wife it is the most painfully simplistic of astrological explanations that stands out to me here. Mercury was retrograde. When Mercury is retrograde there often problems with short trips. John Nash and his wife didn’t have their seatbelts on.

That’s right: a man whose beautiful mind came up with concepts the changed the world didn’t think to put his seatbelt on when in the backseat of a cab, the way you normally would when driving a car. I don’t know what it is about taxis, but so many of us – myself included – tend to forget to buckle up when getting into a cab. And Mercury retrograde never helps with these things.

So let’s be safe out there okay?

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