I can’t believe it’s been two years since the death of Jonathan Cainer on 2 May 2016. Many astrologers — as well as many fans and admirers — were affected by his passing. As my own children grew up with his and as he played such a huge role in shaping my life, I still find it very difficult to talk about him.
But Jon still drops in for a visit every now and again. He still tells me I worry far more than I should. I get the impression he might be impressed with what I’m doing. As the last time I saw him he was wearing a purple sherwani, I also think I could have persuaded him to come to India!
This was my tribute to him:
Jonathan Cainer personified the planet Jupiter more than any other person I have ever known. A double Sagittarius with the Sun on his ascendant and Jupiter on his MC, he had a way of making an entrance. He and his large family would pull onto the quiet fields of Rainbow Circle with the grandest and most unmistakable Winnebago (purple with galaxies painted on it) in Europe. When he parked up, people, noise and more tents poured out of the vehicle. Once Jon arrived, the party could really start.
Jon was a passionate supporter of travellers of all sorts and travellers in return recognized a kindred spirit. He had a way, being so Jupiterian, of getting everyone to revolve around him. It was as if his gravitational pull was so strong no one could escape it. So there we were: Galilean Moons, satellites, both regular and irregular and more eccentric types, captured asteroids and unidentified space debris (soon to be formed into something far more spectacular) all buzzing around the ever smiling man who was Jonathan Cainer.
He would stomp around his camping space in his robe with the latest coffee-making gadget in his hand, always ready to charm someone into acting out on one of his grand ideas. One summer he managed to magic up a swimming pool, a massive games area and an outdoor cinema in the middle of an empty field. If we got bored at looking at the stars (!!), we could watch a movie or play ping pong. And he knew exactly what to do with me: “Alex, you need to be in a classroom.” He encouraged me to do a variety of workshops for Rainbow Circle and even managed to persuade me to coordinate a couple of astrology camps. Eventually, based on his advice from my chart, I enrolled to get my post-graduate degree in education from a London university. But it was Jon who gave me the confidence to apply.
Jon also got me through several FAS papers. “Come to my caravan to work,” he said on more than one occasion as I feverishly hammered out a paper. “It’s quiet.”
I looked at him doubtfully. “It’s never quiet around yours.”
“Oh ye of little faith,” He grabbed my hand and led me across the field, into a small room in his Winnebago and pointed to a spare laptop. So there we would work together: me swearing over FAS papers and Jon hammering out his daily horoscopes. At the time I was a Sun Sign skeptic but I didn’t need to give Jon grief over Sun Signs. It seemed like everywhere he turned, there was someone who just couldn’t resist having a pop at him: his wealth, talent and inherent good heartedness were too much for some people to take. There was a meanness in some people that made the temptation to pop Jon’s bubble just too much to resist. But I saw that Jon was happiest when he was being generous and I knew when to treat him like an ordinary bloke and when to step back and let him do his thing.
One afternoon, I went to borrow Jon’s laptop again just as he was coming out of his caravan. There was a look of shock and horror on his face. I was thinking omg a death in the family, an earthquake, a nuclear disaster. He saw me, took ahold of me by the shoulders and said “Alex, you won’t believe this!” I braced myself for some awful news.
“Jon,” I said, “What is it?”
He put his face in his hands. “Pluto’s not a planet anymore!”
Once I digested this, I couldn’t tell if he was being serious or not. I managed to say: “The bastards are going to regret messing with the god of the Underworld!” The lunacy of it all got to both of us. Jon and I pretty much collapsed on the field with laughter. What do astronomers know about Pluto? We laughed about it for weeks. Whenever I heard from Jon we laughed about it all over again.
He also got me through the MA course.
“Jon I have no idea what to write about,” I said to him one evening in the Jacuzzi of his York home (Jon was the only person I’d ever met who had an indoor pool, sauna and Jacuzzi).
“Write what you know about. What do you know about?”
“I know about being in a classroom.” By this time I sweated about being institutionalized. “I know my classes have an astrological signature.”
“That’s it then, isn’t it?” Jon said.
The last time I saw Jon was at the Mind Body Spirit Exhibition a few years ago. Robert Currey told Jon I was working on the Equinox stall with him and Jon promised to stop by. I heard Jon coming with his entourage well before I saw him. He was wearing a purple sherwani and looked great. I wish I had known it would be the last time I would see him. I might never have let him go.
But here’s the thing: Jon was Jupiter personified. One of his last tweets was: “We make our own luck when we attune with the cosmos. How do we attune with the cosmos? By recognising how lucky we are to be a part of it!”
Jonathan Cainer’s gift was sharing the riches of Jupiter. And he did so for millions of people through his Sun Sign columns. But his magic was that he could make the blessings of Jupiter feel as if they were all just for you.