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Famous Arians
Wilbur Wright | Vincent Van Gogh | Joan Crawford | Marlon Brando | Henry II of France | more



by Deborah Houlding

How does the Aries Sun play out in the charts of the famous people you know? For the deep-dive into the symbolism of this sign see: Aries - The Sign Symbolism of Aries the Ram.

Wilbur Wright


Aviation pioneers Orville and Wilbur Wright made the first controlled and sustained flight of an aircraft at "just about 12 o'clock" on 17 December 1903 (at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina). Of the two brothers, Wilbur is remembered as the dominant personality. His Sun in Aries makes a partile trine to his brother Orville's Sun at 26 Leo, his Moon falls exactly on Orville's Mercury and there is overall a very powerful synastry between the two charts that demonstrates success through combined efforts and shared ideals. On the day of the succesful flight the Sun was conjunct Uranus at 25 Sagittarius, so making a grand trine to the solar placement of the two brothers (transitting Venus was also culmintating upon Wilbur's MC, and transitting Jupiter at 15 Pisces, was perfectly aligned with his natal 9th-ruler Venus).

In Wilbur's chart the headstrong and free flowing energy of his Sun and Mercury in Aries is grounded through the earthy temperament of the ascendant. Capricorn rises and is supported by the sextile of its planetary ruler Saturn in the 10th bestowing the quality of patient application to ambitions. The Moon in Virgo also trines the ascendant giving attention to detail, helping to modify the Arian urge for quick action and instant results, although its 8th house placement suggests periods of difficult, melancholy emotions.

Wilbur was defined as a person who was quietly assured. Outgoing when circumstances required, he could also isolate himself and shut out the world when he chose. He never lacked confidence and excelled at sports, (claiming to particularly enjoy fighting with Orville because he was 'such a good scapper'). With Mercury in Aries and the Sun in the 3rd house ruled by Mars, he was quick-witted, intellectually motivated, an avid reader and a passionate speaker. Despite the square between his Sun and Mars, his earthy temperament gave him a tight control over his temper and his demeanour was described as steady and reliable.

The angular, debilitated Mars brought him many difficulties and setbacks however. The Wright brothers endured fierce opposition in their attempts to claim the prize of flight and the hostile square between the Sun and Mars was brought to prominence in 1885 when Wilbur sustained a bad facial injury whilst playing a game of ice hockey. Though the damage to his face and teeth were mainly superficial the injury instigated a lingering cycle of depression that brought heart difficulties (Sun in Aries) and digestive complications (Mars in Cancer). With Mars in Cancer ruling the 10th house of the mother, and the Moon natally located in the 8th house, the vague and almost certainly psychosomatic health problems seem linked to the death of his mother, who he was personally nursing through tuberculosis at the time of the accident, her death following a few months later. It was from their mother that the Wright brothers inherited their mechanic aptitude, the whole family being powerfully affected by her influence.

The trine between Mars, ruler of the 10th, and Saturn, ruler of the ascendant in the 10th, promises the ideal balance of motivational energy and sustained dedication that appears in the charts of many great engineers. The eventual success in aviation is shown by the grand trine formed by the application of Venus, the exalted ruler of the 9th house of travel. But when Saturn is in the 10th even success demands a heavy price - Wilbur claimed he never married because he couldn't afford to keep a wife as well as an aeroplane.

Vincent Van Gogh


With his fiery red hair and restless disposition, Van Gogh presents an archetypal expression of Aries energy. His chart shows an obvious emphasis on fire and water; the lack of air demonstrating a poor ability to temper his strong passions and sentiments through objectivity and detached reason. He has an elevated Sun in Aries, which in the 10th house seeks creative expression. Although largely ignored in his own lifetime, his legacy remains through the historic remembrance of Van Gogh as the founder of Expressionism.

The Sun's dispositor, Mars, culminating on the midheaven, acts as the release for his explosive and volatile emotions, resulting in an artistic style that is dramatic, energetic and dynamic; as well as a personal life that was marked by violent attacks on himself and others. With Mars conjunct Venus in Pisces, he was drawn to championing idealistic causes and religions, (giving away his own possessions to help the poor); he also suffered through an unrequited love affair in his early life, and endured constant rebuttal of his artistic technique.

The fiery Moon and essentially dignified midheaven ruler Jupiter are poorly placed in the cadent 6th house upon the square Mars on the midheaven, showing daily struggles behind a tension-filled impetus to pursue his own style regardless of the practical difficulties that resulted in breaking away from convention. The combination of the Sun in Aries and its dispositor Mars in Pisces characterises his approach to his work (which he looked upon as a spiritual calling) as well as his Impressionist style which, like Pisces, lacks rigour and is seen as an emotional impression of an object's energy rather than a literal reproduction of its physical details.

The artistic revolution of which Van Gogh was a part can also be seen through the Saturn-Uranus conjunction in Taurus which brought an urge to break down oppressive creative structures and a limited academic appreciation of art through works that show a disregard for outline and rigid, formal composition.

Joan Crawford


Joan Crawford's 5th house Sun rules the midheaven depicting a career built on self-expression through the theatrical arts. Venus also trines the midheaven, which allowed her to build a glamorous image for her typical Arian features of lean body, long neck and large bones. Unable to disguise these, she capitalised upon them, making shoulder pads the height of fashion in the 1940s. Sophisticated, yet notably imperious, she enjoyed one of the most successful and enduring careers in cinema history. With Scorpio rising, she was perfect for playing the femme fatale or 'scream queen' of horror, revelling in sarcasm, melodrama and turbulent, jealous emotions.

The Sun applies to the opposition of Mars, a testimony to the battles and conflict that dogged her personal and professional life - considered 'more trouble than she was worth' by her bosses at MGM, she was also known for legendary divorce feuds, whilst the final testimony of her adopted children was that she was a cruel and abusive mother, over-strict and something of a 'clean freak'.

The Moon's conjunction with Saturn, ruler of the 4th house of home, parents and early environment, describes the poor, depressed nature of her childhood, and the emotional insecurities that lay behind her own behaviour problems. Her natural parents separated as she was born and her mother (who worked as a cleaner) was abandoned by her stepfather who walked out after being embroiled in a financial scandal. Joan felt his loss keenly and would search for him in the crowded streets of Kansas. Her mother clearly favoured her brother and would send Joan out to clean for her, virtually treating her like a slave. This left Joan with a ruthless ambition borne from insecurity, and her biographies note that she excelled at playing "depression-era women, forced to work in hard times". Her success as an actress lay in her ability to express the powerful T-square involving the luminaries and malefics in the roles she brought to life on screen.

Marlon Brando


Marlon Brando was one of the largest figures in Hollywood, physically so in his later years (as we might expect from ascendant ruler Jupiter located in its own sign and triplicity in the 1st house). Jupiter squares the Midheaven bringing overblown public attention which Brando described in his autobiography as "the turbulent and distorting maelstrom of celebrity". But an easy success in the creative and illusionary world of the big screen is assured by the grand trine between Jupiter rising, Neptune in Leo and the Sun and Moon in Aries on the 5th house cusp. Such a prominent Jupiter and its interplay between the 9th house and the Sun as the exalted 9th house ruler, gave Brando a keen off-screen interest as a moral activist. He was a tireless crusader for the Civil Rights Movement, in particular supporting the rights of Native American Indians, with his political commitments tending to favour the underdog and being noted by biographers as arising from his need to champion the cause of freedom.

Brando's charismatic performances were the result of early training which taught him to develop his characters out of the emotions of his own personality. A second grand trine exists between the earthy qualities of his exalted 5th-house ruler Mars, the midheaven, and his angular, dignified Venus, offering an alluring mix of raw energy and a smouldering, macho attraction that would serve any sex symbol well. He once complained of the difficulties he faced when the public identified him too readily with the 'tough, insensitive and course guy' he played on-screen, but he also refers to a classic line in the film The Wild One where he snarls "nobody tells me what to do" - and in true Arian style admitted that was exactly how he lived his life.

King Henry II of France


The above chart is the closest computer match to John Gadbury's depiction of this nativity published in 1662 (see below). King Henry's chart is interesting to astrologers for the accurate warning of death made five years in advance by Lucas Gauricus, a prominent astrologer and the bishop of Civita. The year before the king's death Nostradamus also made a now famous prophecy that bore an uncanny resemblance in its details.

Both Gauricus and Nostradamus were employed by Henry's queen, Catherine de Medici. According to Gadbury's report Gauricus advised the king to avoid his favourite sport of jousting in the 41st year of his age since the progression of the ascendant by primary direction brought it to the conjunction of Mars and threatened "a wound in the head, which would cause either blindness or death". Gauricus could hardly have failed to notice that Mars is a particularly threatening planet in this chart, being opposed to Saturn, the ruler of the 8th house of death, and squaring the Sun in Aries, which shows the same proclivity for accidents to the head as the Aries Sun-Mars square that brought a facial injury to Wilbur Wright, (also whilst engaged in sport). But the argument of serious injury is much more pronounced here with the Sun located in the ominous 12th house, traditionally viewed as a dire and injurious region. The potential of an accident arising from sport is also obvious through the Sun's rulership over the 5th house of sport and recreational pleasure.

The king had just passed his 41st birthday when he ignored the warning and engaged in jousting during the celebrations of his daughter's wedding. His younger opponent's lance pierced his headcage and splintered, with one fragment piercing his right eye, the other penetrating his jaw. The wounds joined together in his skull. The king bravely managed to regain his balance whilst in the saddle and nobly dismounted on his own account before later collapsing. He suffered terrible pain and passed away 10 days later. As his son, Henry III succeeded him, astrologers naturally pointed to his Leo ascendant as a final vindication of the prophecy recorded by Nostradamus:

The young lion will overcome the older one
On the field of combat in single battle
He will pierce his eyes though a golden cage
Two wounds made one, then he dies a cruel death.
(Century 1 Quatrain 35)

Gadbury's reproduction of Henry II's nativity

For more info see Gauricus and the Warning of Death given to Henry II of France and its follow-up article An Easy Introduction to Primary Directions by Deborah Houlding.

graphic embellishment
Skyscript chart images may be freely used for any purpose without seeking permission.