Tales from the Peregrine Moon: The Isolation of Nick Drake

Nick DrakeThose persons who tell you that the study of astrology requires an exhaustive understanding of every imaginable facet of cosmic knowledge are really telling only half the story. My own approach was once similarly flavoured, but then I noticed a peculiar phenomenon; I just felt the astrology. I began to get a strange sensation of empathic quality from looking at a nativity; often the sensation is faint, sometimes there is no sensation at all, but on occasion I can open up a chart and I am nearly moved to tears at some apprehension of the most delicate anxiety and angst before my brain has even had the remotest possibility of processing the actual astrology; I have come to the point whereby then, I do not read the astrology as a series of factors, like lines of computer code, but in fact I read the astrology as a glyph. Of course, as an afterthought, I can break it down to understand how that sense came about, but it is uncanny that even after reverse-engineering the delineations in this way, the conclusion is just the same. I am equally sensitive to the charts of murderers in this manner, Myra Hindley’s chart filled me with a sense of abysmal blackness so that I could not even look at it for more than a few moments.

I find those cases where the astrology is urgent in this way far more compelling, in fact, I understand how much a client requires help from exactly this phenomenon. It goes without saying then, that I am intrigued in my own astrology by whatever quality therein might offer a clue to the nature of this faculty. Now technically I consider the fact of my peregrine Mercury in mutual reception with Pluto below rising to be a possibility, but even more than this, I consider my Moon, also peregrine at the Eagle Point of Scorpio to be a good candidate.

Peregrine Moon in Scorpio is extremely uncommon in the literature, the actor Will Smith is one of the very rare individuals who has managed to express it at all. This rather cuts to the chase with the theme of peregrination, because actually there is an isolation, and with the Moon that can be very tricky, because you are emotionally cut off; you do not feel part of the world, you feel disconnected, separate and depending on the nature of the Moon sign, that might have some very difficult repercussions. Peregrine Moon in Scorpio is so rare in the charts of celebrities because their emotional security has no connection with anything else, they are thus forced to be emotionally self-sufficient, and in the sign of Scorpio: the most self-reliant and Spartan of all the zodiac, it becomes a life-and-death struggle against a sense of profound abandonment. If the Moon is peregrine in the sign of Cancer or Taurus, there may be clinginess or a tendency to eat for comfort and oscillate between that (and via the polarity) to be emotionally distant and to go off your food at times as well, but at least in these lunar-compatible signs, there is a real possibility of finding a sense of inner security. You may dissociate, but at least you can feel secure in your separateness. The native then with peregrine Moon in Taurus or in Cancer will give lie to the homily “no man is an island” because they are probably capable of being so.

Moon in Scorpio and peregrine then creates profound isolation too, but one that is deeply uncomfortable to the one experiencing it. This is key, because where Moon in the opposite sign of Taurus dissociates because he just feels so good about being “in his own world” because it is so comfortable a place to reside, in the Eagle sign it is akin to the eagle’s domain, lofty, distant and very, very lonely. The key to this position then is that the native can feel very different, very alone and very un-nurtured.

The text-book case is – in my view – that of the musician Nick Drake. His profound sensitivity of expression tells the story of the deeply private compassion of Moon in Scorpio, and his voice is the perfect delineation of the fragile, difficult quality of Neptune squared to Mercury conjunct Venus in the sad, hurting 12th. I looked at Drake’s chart this morning and felt a profound wave of sorrow wash through me, and I do not need to tell you that I listen to Nick Drake’s music all the time and it always has this effect on me. Of course, esoterically, his music is an expression of his astrology, which is itself an emanation of his soul, what Alan Watts so aptly described as an aperture through which the Universe shines.

There is no question though that the peregrine Moon in Scorpio aperture is profoundly difficult. Let us place that into the context of the whole of Drake’s chart:

Nick Drake Nativity

Even the minor aspects that Drake’s moon makes are not the easiest, the quincunxes to Sun/Uranus speak to an ever present dissatisfaction about expressing his feelings, and the quindecile to North Node implies an obsession with finding his destined vocation. The tee-square to “old hard-labour” Saturn – Pluto in Leo tells us that he was born to serve his sentence in this life in the creative sphere. In the second that creates a real need for warmth and prosperity, but Moon in Scorpio overrides everything, creating an intense sense of isolation.

Let us consider a few of the astonishing facets of this over-expressed Scorpio Moon in his life:

  • He lived a frugal existence, his only source of income being a £20 a week retainer he received from Island Records. At one point he was so poor he was unable to afford to buy a new pair of shoes.
  • He would often disappear for days, sometimes turning up unannounced at friends’ houses, uncommunicative and withdrawn. Robert Kirby described a typical visit: “He would arrive and not talk, sit down, listen to music, have a smoke, have a drink, sleep there the night, and two or three days later he wasn’t there, he’d gone. And three months later he’d be back.”
  • Drake ended his studies at Cambridge just nine months before graduation, and in autumn 1969 moved to London to concentrate on a career in music. His father remembered “writing him long letters, pointing out the disadvantages of going away from Cambridge…a degree was a safety net, if you manage to get a degree, at least you have something to fall back on; his reply to that was that a safety net was the one thing he did not want.”
  • By the winter of 1970, he had isolated himself in London. Disappointed by the reaction to Bryter Layter, he turned his thoughts inwards, and withdrew from family and friends. He rarely left his flat, and then only to play an occasional concert or to buy drugs.
  • Upon completion of his third album (Pink Moon), Drake delivered the master tapes to the front desk of Island Records’ office building. He placed them on a receptionist’s desk, and left without speaking to anyone.
  • In the only Drake interview ever published, the “shy and introverted folk singer” spoke of his dislike of live appearances, and very little else. “There wasn’t any connection whatsoever“, the interviewer said. “I don’t think he made eye contact with me once.”
  • In his 2006 autobiography, Drake’s producer recalled being taken aback at Drake’s anger and bitterness: ” I had told him he was a genius, and others had concurred. Why wasn’t he famous and rich. This rage must have festered beneath that inexpressive exterior for years.”
  • Throughout his body of work, Drake writes with detachment, more as an observer than participant, a point of view described by Rolling Stone “as if he were viewing his life from a great, unbridgeable distance.”

This perceived inability to connect has led to much speculation about Drake’s sexuality. Joe Boyd (Drakes’ and Fairport Convention’s producer) has said he detects a virginal quality in his lyrics and music, and notes that he never observed or heard of the singer behaving in a sexual way with anyone, male or female. Shall we point out then Drake’s peregrine (disconnected) Mars (sexuality) in the sign of Virgo (the virgin)?

I really fail to understand just why astrology isn’t taken so much more seriously than it is!

Nick Drake died aged just 26 of an overdose after having failed to connect with his life.

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David Cameron: Spin Doctor or Saviour?

With all the hoo-har about the release of Barack Obama’s birth details and the subsequent cacophony of ephemerides being slammed onto astrologer’s desks the world over (okay, so we all use software for calculation nowadays, but it’s an image I like!) I thought I would take a look today at Britain’s answer to Mr Obama, the less gaunt, less liberal, less most things you care to mention: Mr Cameron!

David Cameron Nativity

So what can we say about the Libran, Mr Cameron? Actually the first thing that springs to mind is an observation about the sign Libra, which has a rather soft, acquiescent reputation, mostly on account of a great determination to ensure that everyone else is at ease. A Libran strives for harmony of course, but their reputation as a pushover is entirely inaccurate; sure the Libran will give way on the things that they can do without, but engage them on an issue that matters to them and they’ll give even a fundamentalist Scorpio a run for their money. So, to some extent this gives you the first insight to David Cameron, he might seem smooth, charming and rather easy-going, but if he really wants something, he’s probably going to get it.

David Cameron PhotoI would also say that at just under 8 degrees the Sun’s only major aspect, a conjunction to Venus, powerful in her domicile, is rather wide and you might well make a case for his Sun therefore being peregrine, a condition that Hilary Clinton shares, but given the reach of the Sun, it is possibly dangerous to make such a claim at all. What you can say with Venus rising in Libra is that Mr Cameron has genuine charm, he will sweep you off your feet, and no doubt – whether they want to admit it or not – there are going to be more than a few female voters swayed by his pleasing and polite persona on Election Day. Add to this Mercury in incisive Scorpio and suddenly the picture changes, there is a sting in the tail, and now we begin to see the steel fist in the velvet glove, because Mercury here, squared to Moon conjunct Jupiter in Leo in the 10th gives a powerful fixity and ‘unto the bitter end’ determination. Bizarrely, the impression that Cameron often gives, of being smooth, suave and a little soft is entirely contradicted now, here is a man who will not only determine that the things he wants will be his, he won’t care too much who he has to squash to get them. Actually, he’s tough, very tough, and there’s more.

Mars in Leo in the 11th suggests a great deal of leadership energy, a real drive to be top of the pile and here again we have another planet that is truly peregrine, so no doubt he spent the first 35 years of his life struggling to find his drive and his passion and then one day he suddenly woke up to the fact that he really had genuine power; Mars in any fire sign has great energy, and in Leo it is imbued with a measure of compassion, warmth and genuine nobility, which added to his Jupiter in the same sign probably denotes some real ability to lead. If we look at the Moon, in the 10th, it suggests popularity, fame, and conjunct Jupiter, it takes the form of leadership fame, and no doubt it will expand as his life progresses. Moon in Leo is not the greatest of placements, but it suggests an ability to take the lead in a crisis, and that is not so bad a quality in a Prime Minister.

The worst politico placement of this nativity is probably Mercury square Jupiter which tends to make promises rather glibly, it is a promise much, deliver much less tendency that probably suits the profession well, but also undermines the credibility of the entire lower house at the same time. Having said that though, with Jupiter in Leo, the chances are that his intentions are nevertheless good, and Mercury in Scorpio is quite pragmatic and sincere, so even if he does make rash promises, he does not take them lightly even so, perhaps that mitigates the potential for harm.

Most compelling of all though is the rather electric triangle between Uranus conjunct Pluto in Virgo opposing Saturn conjunct Chiron in Pisces all of which trines/sextiles Neptune in Scorpio in the 2nd. This situation is rather profound; one might even say it is almost esoteric; Saturn conjunct to Chiron really speaks of someone who is almost destined to heal the world in some way, who must be responsible for the health and well-being of the spiritual themes of those who are placed under his care. This is quite strange to see in the political chart because if one did not know better one might be tempted to think that his purpose in this world was to change the core paradigms of society, Saturn in Pisces teaches a karmic lesson about the need for compassion, and providing he is able to respond to that calling, his impact could be truly remarkable. Of course the potential for great damage exists in this same aspect set, Saturn opposition Pluto can just as easily represent the dictator as the saviour, he may be deeply pragmatic, prosaic even and be anti-spiritual in which case he could become a true force for evil, but I like to think that if his words can even be half-believed that he might indeed mean what he says and bring some measure of sincerity back into British politics.

I must say that after looking into his astrology, even in this rather perfunctory manner, my opinion of his potential is very much improved. I am not saying that I would vote for him, but I will certainly not be quite so secure in my cynicism about him from here on in.