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If you can count your money, you don't have a billion dollars.

J. Paul Getty

Traditional Testimonies of Wealth & Fortune
J. Paul Getty's Phenomenal Wealth
By David Plant

American multimillionaire J. Paul Getty - reputed to be the richest man in the world at the time of his death - was born at 8.43 AM LMT on December 15th, 1892, in Minneapolis. Getty inherited $15 million from his father and built a financial empire through oil and property dealing valued at nearly $4 billion when he died in 1976. How does such phenomenal wealth show up in Getty's horoscope?

J. Paul Getty Horoscope

See data notes below

As in horary, the key to the judgement of nativities is an exact knowledge of houses and significators. In Getty's chart Saturn rules the 2nd cusp; Jupiter, the natural significator of wealth, rules the intercepted sign; Mars disposits the Part of Fortune and occupies the 2nd house. All three 'superior' planets share in the signification. The fact that two of these planets are malefics makes no difference to their ability to bestow or deny wealth - what is important is a careful assessment of their various dignities and debilities. Following Lilly's 'Ready Table', Mars emerges as the strongest planet in the chart, with exalted Saturn not far behind. Jupiter is moderately dignified, and benefits from its mutual reception with a powerful Mars.

The principal significators of wealth look healthy enough, but none of them are prominent in angles and there are no transformative fixed star contacts to indicate anything exceptional. What makes Getty's chart unusually favourable is Mars - strong in the 2nd house in its role as dispositor to the Part of Fortune. Lilly reminds us of Ptolemy's emphasis on the Part of Fortune and its dispositor in the judgement of wealth (Tetrabiblos IV.2). Ideally, the dispositing planet should harmonise with the Part of Fortune itself and with the Benefics and Lights. Getty's Mars is trine the Part of Fortune, trine Venus, in mutual reception with Jupiter and trine the Moon. Exchanging the degrees of the mutual reception moves Mars to a platick trine of the Sun as well, to score a full house. (The radical Sun-Mars square and Jupiter-Saturn opposition suggest that Getty's vast wealth did not bring him happiness, but that's another judgement.)

Getty's fortune did not come out of the blue. He was born into money and had the ability to handle it supremely well. Closely allied to the judgement of wealth is the judgement of inheritance. In modern astrology the 8th house is exclusively associated with inheritance, and Lilly mentions its connection with the 'estate of the deceased' and 'wealth [that] comes by dead folkes' (p.554). However, in judging ancestral family wealth, or patrimony, Lilly looks to the 4th.

Getty's 4th house, with the benefic North Node close to the cusp, is ruled by Venus. Although badly placed by sign, Venus has minor dignity by face and term, is strong in accidental dignities and harmonises with the powerful 2nd house Mars through a close trine and mixed reception (Mars in the exaltation of Venus, Venus in the sign and triplicity of Mars). The applying conjunction of the Moon to Venus in the 10th emphasises Getty's ability to build and increase his substantial patrimony.

Since Getty's fortune was founded upon oil and real estate, a modern astrologer might read the conjunction of Pluto and Neptune in the 5th as an indication of vast wealth (Pluto) through oil (Neptune), particularly with Pluto conjunct Aldebaran. It should be noted though that outer planet configurations last for many years. This conjunction featured in countless horoscopes (or would have if Pluto had been known in the late 19th century). More relevant here is Saturn, ruler of the 2nd house, exalted in the 9th house of international affairs and powerfully aspecting Jupiter and the ascendant. In the traditonal aphorisms, Lilly tells us that Saturn, as the significator of wealth, indicates gain from agriculture, all forms of mining, property, shipping, and inheritance from parents. Although Saturn often represents conservative interests, Uranus conjunct the MC demonstrates Getty's independence and unique lifestyle; he is quoted as saying "No one can possibly achieve any real and lasting success or "get rich" in business by being a conformist".

While the outer planets undoubtedly have their place in astrology, much may be learned from the strictly traditional method, as the significators of wealth in the horoscope of 'the richest American' demonstrate.

The meek shall inherit the Earth,
but not its mineral rights.

J. Paul Getty

Data Notes:
5.43 AM LMT (14.56 GMT), 15 Dec. 1892, Lat. 44N59, Long. 93W16.
There are doubts as to Getty's exact birth time. Lois Rodden in The American Book of Charts (p.305) quotes 10.43 AM LMT and 8.30 am CST as possible alternatives. The given chart seems the most likely, but should be regarded as an illustration of a method of judgement rather than a definitive nativity.

© David Plant. More of David Plant's work is available on his English Merlin website, devoted to all aspects of the life and times of William Lilly and his contemporaries