I have been reading through – for probably the tenth time – Richard Tarnas’ Cosmos and Psyche, and I was struck this time by his observation that people born with personal planets in aspect to the dramatically configured outer planets often have a dynamic effect upon the world. It’s as if their soul has committed to playing a large role in the transformative movements of their time. Most intense of the outer planet cycles are the configurations of Uranus and Pluto in conjunction, square, and opposition. The “emancipatory” extreme destabilizing force of the Uranus archetype collides, colludes, or opposes the instinctual, up from the depths, compelling power of the Pluto archetype. Think the ‘60s, when Uranus and Pluto traveled together for most of the decade and rebellious forces for freedom of all individuals fought with the dark intensity of a life and death struggle.
But earlier in the Twentieth Century, in the 1930’s, Uranus and Pluto were in square, mirroring the rise of fascism in much of the Western World as forces rose to combat it. It was in the midst of this dynamic square that an individual who would transform popular culture entered the world on January 8, 1935, named Elvis Presley. And we can see as we look at Elvis’s chart that his powerful Capricorn stellium of the Sun, Mercury, and Venus in his second house of talents opposed Pluto in Capricorn and squared Uranus in Aries, creating a T-square.
That engine of Elvis’s Capricorn stellium were in trine to his Midheaven, demonstrating the powerful urge to send his ego and his energy out into the world, and his success in reaching the masses. His Capricorn planets draw on the energy of Pluto in Cancer, representing his southern roots in traditional country music and rhythm and blues. In fact, this opposition indicates those who opposed his using music created by African-Americans early in his career, and those who today object to his appropriation of a historically black genre.
Uranus in square to his Capricorn stellium – and to Pluto in Cancer – shows us the lightning that was Elvis Presley. In Aries and in Elvis’s house of creativity, Uranus is the creative trailblazer who could take old forms of music and combine them to create a never-before-seen, or heard, sound and performance style. The phenomenal energy of the early Elvis onstage is contained in this T-square, and it was when Elvis found his audience, the 11th house empty leg of his T-square where Mars was in wide angle, that his power was truly unleashed.
In the mid-1950s, Neptune in Libra in Elvis’s 11th house completed the T-square to make a grand cross, while Jupiter and Uranus conjoined in Cancer, exactly on Elvis’s Pluto. These were the years when his star rose, as he exploded onto the music scene with number-one records, and he even went on to become a movie star. Lighting up Elvis’s Sun, Venus, and Mercury in Capricorn, the outer planets birthed a legend.
But what price does a simple human being pay to have his life strapped onto a comet and sent hurdling through space? A Pluto opposition to our personal planets can overwhelm the self, making one feel no sense of agency or ability to choose an authentic path. And we know that Elvis was throughout his entire career controlled by “Colonel” Parker, someone whose own lust for power was being channeled through Elvis. And a Uranus square to personal planets can indicate a life under constant bombardment of the new, the startling, the chaotic, the challenges to always take on the world’s demands on the self.
So while Elvis was able to harness the power of his Uranus-Pluto square when he was young and unwearied, time eventually wore him down. In the 1970’s, Uranus was passing through Libra, creating a grand cross of his T-square, telling us of his fall as “the King” as his style of music was no longer drawing large audiences, destabilizing his public image as he gained weight and became a kind of joke. Pluto eventually entered Libra, too, and was conjunct his Mars at the time of his death. It’s as if the forces controlling his life for so many years finally took away his will to live. Looking at Elvis’s chart and the Pisces Moon that only wanted peace and a beautiful inner life, I find it very easy to understand the pills, the food addiction, the unhealthy relationships, and the sadly isolated final years of his life.
But legends once created never die. While Elvis being harnessed to the powerful energies of his era exhausted his human heart, there is left in his wake his amazing, unforgettable sound, the image of a young man feeling the joy and vibrancy of existence as he danced, and the loving hearts of his growing legions of fans.