Revolution, Flower Power & the Children of Dionysus

Newsletter: October 2010
August 27, 2010

Revolution, Flower Power & the Children of Dionysus

This article was part of the front page for the ‘Club of 27’ webpage in 2005. It was the result of a presentation featuring the astrology of the 1960s and club of 27 members Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Brian Jones and Kurt Cobain. The webpage must have inspired the editors of Wikipedia as they featured a ‘Club of 27’ page–sans astrology of course. Later that year, the Serbian astrology magazine Astrologus published the presentation and then came to London to meet the presenters at the Psychedelic Dream Tea Palace in Camden Market. Photos from this event appear at the end of the article.

It is tempting and perhaps far too easy to point out that all the members of the Club of 27 lived hard and died young. Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Brian Jones and Kurt Cobain so readily gave themselves to the hedonism, recklessness and controversy of their lives that even astrologically it is difficult to see beyond their tragic deaths, neatly marked out by a Uranus trine and Neptune sextile.

However, the members of the ‘Club of 27’ featured on this website all had prominent Uranus connections. Hendrix, left handed and inventive from an early age, was playing the guitar with his teeth and behind his head before he could train himself to play the guitar with his right hand. Jones, born into relative privilege, did not battle his way out of poverty but out of the limitations imposed by his class. Joplin, as the only woman of the Club of 27, could never see herself as worthy of being loved–and so she set out to break down not only the gender barriers of the music industry but the racial ones as well. A lover of reptiles to his family and friends long before he became known as the Lizard King to his fans, Morrison, the troublesome practical joker with an exceptionally high IQ had the rebellious and macho Mars-Uranus conjunction. Cobain, brought up in a society where perfect looks sell mediocre music, was the greasy-haired founding member of the “Grunge” music and lifestyle, was born during the Uranus/Pluto conjunction of the mid 1960‘s. It is perhaps unsurprising theses Club of 27 members frowned on the “squares” of their generation: all have a conspicuous lack of the square aspect in their charts.

Additionally, Jones, Joplin and Hendrix were born with the Saturn/Uranus conjunction in their charts. Perhaps in an archetypal sense, this conjunction was epitomised by the unleashing of nuclear power in December 1962, in Chicago, when the firm structure of things (Saturn) was broken up in a totally new way (Uranus). Hendrix was born within days of that event, and Joplin only a month after. It was the same conjunction, echoing in their natal charts that would contribute to the cultural explosion that was the ’60’s.

In astrology, the planet Uranus is associated with sudden and shocking revolution. Uranus is known particularly for its ability to use eccentricity and innovation to bring about change. The Uranus of the United States stands at 8 Gemini (US Chart). At it’s first return in 1861, Civil war had broken out, and at it’s second return, US soldiers were fighting in WWII on the beaches of Normandy in 1944. Thus, the birth of Janis, Jimi, Jim and Brian coincided with the start of the third Uranus-cycle of the United States.

From mid 1942-1946 a “magic triangle” of outer planets formed in the sky.

This triangle consisted of Uranus-trine-Neptune, both pointing in sextile to Pluto. The Neptune of this generation was also right on the MC of the United States (3° Libra), so the “children of the revolution” held their ideals of a Utopian society. They fantasised about their country having peaceful and gentle relations with the rest of the world. They would grow to be unafraid to experiment with music and drugs. With the Uranus/Neptune trine pointing in sextile to Pluto, this generation seemed focused on complete reformation. This transformation would seem to be part of the American karmic fate as Pluto is on the North Node of the US chart. It wasn’t until this generation grew up and began expressing themselves as adults that the effects of this configuration could be seen. Quite simply, by the time Janis, Jim, Jimi and Brian were born, the United States was ripe for a shake-up.

Thus, already predisposed to experiment, this generation would find fame during the Uranus/Pluto conjunction of 1966. 1967 was the year of the revolutionary Monterey Music Festival, the blossoming of the unforgettable Flower-Power revolution. During this time this vital conjunction of Uranus/Pluto moved across the Neptune of the US chart at 22° Virgo, showing the glorious dreams of which America is capable – but also, it wrought confusion and chaos on a society battling for equality, rebelling against authority and traumatised by a foreign war. The meeting of Uranus, the planet of androgyny and Pluto with its power-of-the-depths, coincided with the sexual revolution and the advent of the feminist movement. It seemed this generation became feminised, as a lot of young people, young men in particular, wore beads and flowers in their hair. The lifestyles of music, drug use, hedonism, psychedelic fashion and promiscuity characterise this Pluto/Uranus era, a time affectionately known as “The Swinging Sixties.” When we look back on this era it is with a quiver of excitement and nostalgia. We can almost once again conjure up the wonderful feeling of rebellion, lack of inhibition and experimentation. It was also a time a great terror and turmoil: bodies of America’s young men were rotting in fields with unpronounceable names, as the Vietnam war raged. On home soil, an ongoing battle for racial equality was happening – a battle that never should have been necessary in the first place. No one knew better about the discrimination Black America faced than Jimi Hendrix, the only Black member of the Club of 27. Returning to America from a successful British tour in 1967, Hendrix found himself in a New York hotel – and was promptly mistaken for a bellhop.

Through a smoky haze, this generation used music to express their dreams of peace and harmony as the Vietnam War raged and used drugs to escape the grim reality of a futile conflict. The finest anti-war songs came from this period. The Flower-Power generation expressed its anger through music and thereby de-legitimised the war. Its new visions were moulded while experimenting with drugs and meditation. The expression “If you can remember the ‘60’s you weren’t there,” seems an apt tribute to this time. And who better to carry and inherit the torch of the sixties turmoil than the sensitive, emotionally water-logged Piscean Kurt Cobain who had the conjunction of Pluto/Uranus straddling his ascendant?

The original Club of 27 January 2005, left to right Neil Spencer, John Etherington, Laura Boomer-Trent, Andrew Morton, Nick Kollerstrom, Alex Trenoweth

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Club of 27 Meets Astrologus