By Edward Snow
Do those with the planet Saturn prominently featured in their astrological birth map live longer than others?
British astrologer Paul Wright says Saturn is a complex symbol whose meaning has been explored and elaborated by many astrologers. Over the centuries, the planet has been identified with timing and the process of aging and, in some depictions, is linked to “Father Time.”
But the evidence doesn’t appear to support the longer life notion, he maintains.
“Although Saturn may relate to old age in an abstract, symbolic sense, it doesn’t seem to bear any relation to a long lifetime. Studies looking for astrological connections or signatures in the charts of those who lived a longer life than average are inconclusive at best,” he says.
Writing in the Astrological Journal, Wright describes a study he published that looked at the accurately timed charts of 37 centenarians. No obvious astrological theme common to them was found, he noted.
“Earlier generations of astrologers sometimes made predictions about the length of time an individual might expect to live. The 16th century practitioner Luc Gaurico, for example, promised Henri II of France ‘a most happy and green old age’.
“In fact, Henri died at the age of 40 at the hands of a Scottish nobleman in a jousting accident,” he said.
Capricorn is the astrological sign that Saturn is said to “rule,” which means it’s where the planet most effectively expresses its archetypal energies. Saturn’s influence is said to be strong when either the planet or the Sun is posited in the sign of Capricorn, or when the planet and Sun line up in roughly the same zodiacal degree in what astrologers call a conjunction. It also works when Saturn and the Sun oppose each other in opposite zodiacal signs.
The sign of Capricorn rising on the Eastern horizon (ascendant), or the planet Saturn rising near the ascendant, make strong Saturnian statements as well.
“What Saturn and Capricorn seem to indicate is not long life but a tendency to mature slowly and not succeed until later years. Or, more commonly, to continue successfully at an age when others have stopped. The latter is quite noticeable in the fields of sport and entertainment,” Wright said.
Examples abound. Wright says the Gong, a “spaced-out hippy outfit that was popular on the British college circuit in the mid-1970s,” reformed a few years ago. On tour the band’s 72-yearold lead singer Daevid Allen, who was born with the Sun in Capricorn, could be observed energetically fronting two-hour sets.
A number of other well-known performers pursued fruitful careers into their 60s and 70s. The list includes Shirley Bassey, David Bowie and Rod Stuart, all born with the sun in Capricorn. Tom Jones has Capricorn rising, Mick Jagger has the Sun and Saturn conjoined in the same zodiacal degree and Keith Richards has the Sun and planet in an opposition aspect.
With Capricorn rising in his birth chart, Englebert Humperdinck, at age 76, was still performing and surprised by turning up as a participant in a Eurovision Song Contest.
Among the many sports celebrities singled out by Wright, Sir Alex Ferguson (Capricorn Sun) “was quite comfortable with the pressure of managing one of the world’s top football clubs at age 70”. Also, the Sun and Saturn were conjoined in the birth chart of Mark Foster, who was swimming for Britain in the Olympics at age 38, he said.
In major league baseball, players usually retire in their early or mid-thirties. However, Willie Mays played his last game in October 1973 at the age of 42. In his birth chart Mays has Capricorn rising and the Moon conjunct Saturn in Capricorn.
As a variation of the longevity theme, Wright says Capricorn is accented in the natal charts of those who are slow starters or take a long time to reach their best. Good example of this can be seen in the field of literature.
The acclaimed German novelist Theodor Fontane published his first work at 59 and his magnum opus when he was 76. JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings published when he was 62 and the author continued writing fiction into his 70s. Ramon Guthrie’s most important work, Maximum Security Ward, appeared when he was 74. All were born with the Sun in Capricorn.
Physicist Stephen Hawking’s story “is one of great achievement against seemingly impossible odds,” Wright believes.
Hawking was born with his Sun and the planet Mercury in Capricorn. At age 21 he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease, an ailment that progressively paralyzed him. However, he has survived into his 70s when the normal prognosis for the ailment is two to three years.
Clara Barton is the poster girl for Capricornian grit. Wright says she first rose to national prominence because of her humanitarian work during the American Civil War, when she joined the Union cause and nursed wounded soldiers. Barton worked at times under fire and witnessed the horrific carnage of hospitals and battlefields.
She was also a nurse in the Franco-Prussian war, and it was during this conflict that the seeds were sown for a more lasting achievement: the American Red Cross. Barton was almost 60 when she founded the organization in May 1881. In an era when women didn’t have careers, she was the organization’s president for 22 years before leaving to form the National First Aid Society at age 83.
Barton’s birth map had the Sun, Moon, Uranus and Neptune all elevated in the sign of Capricorn. The Sun is conjunct both Uranus and Neptune, which suggests the caring, humanitarian nature of her work but also the unconventionality of her life choices.
Wright is the author of five astrology books and works as a journalist on a national newspaper. More information can be found on his website: www.wrightastrology.com.