The Centaur Review: Three Sagittarius Men

Dear Friend and Reader,

Welcome to the Sagittarius Review — I am so excited to delve into the lives of people who have had a significant effect on my life and the lives of the communities I have grown up in. I don’t intend to present flawless icons to you; I want us to look at the good and the not so good so that we can see the innovators, the leaders and the inspiring forces in them and ourselves. Today we start with the myth of the mighty Centaur, Sagittarius.

Jimi Hendrix had a Capricorn Moon. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.
Jimi Hendrix was a Sagittarius with a Moon in Cancer. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Jimi Hendrix (Nov. 27, 1942), Bruce Lee (Nov. 27, 1940) and Richard Pryor (Dec. 1, 1940) are my three all-time favorite Sag’s. When I think of this sign, the word that always comes to mind is warrior. Death is the only thing that seems to stop them. They are born to push boundaries, question authority and explore beyond the usual comfort zones that we all have. They do, say and create things that are unprecedented and usually give us a big evolutionary push forward.

Let’s start with Jimi Hendrix. The first thing to know about his chart is that he is born with the Galactic Core rising. This gives him a far-reaching impact that is obvious to see; in a sense he took rock music into his own hands.

Jimi’s mother pretty much abandoned him as a baby and died when he was young; this follows the story of Chiron, the Centaur/healer who stands at the gate to Sagittarius. Very hard on anyone, but especially a Moon in Cancer child. His Moon is so close to the end of Cancer that it is what’s called “void of course” — it enters Leo in a few hours. This creates an unpredictable kind of life, but as we can see in Jimi’s life, it can come at the cost of great loss.

They were pretty poor and had to move around often. Jimi had four siblings, all of whom were born with some kind of physical difficulty, which ultimately forced his father to give them up as he couldn’t afford to take care of them. His father noticed one day after asking Jimi to sweep that broom straws were all over the floor, and he figured out that he had been strumming it instead of sweeping with it. Jimi progressed from a one-stringed ukulele which he learned to play a couple of tunes on, to an acoustic at 15 and, finally, the electric guitar that his father bought for him in the summer of ’59 which he often fell asleep holding.

Jimi went through much of the traditional brilliant person experiences — being kicked out of bands, school, the Army and, of course, being arrested for drug possession. His early music career started with established R&B, Soul and Blues artists including Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, James Brown and The Isley Brothers.

With the Moon’s North Node in Leo, and Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Saturn and Pluto trine or sextile Neptune, I would say that music was always waiting for him. He quickly rose to stardom in Europe and literally changed music by revolutionizing the guitar in seven years. Jimi basically broke every rule set for recording techniques and the use of special effects and sound equipment.

His Sun, Venus and Juno were all in his 12th house — Jimi was only here in body. A 12th House Sun can make a person feel “outside themselves.” One girlfriend actually recalled that he said to her, “I’m not going to live to 30.” This has been true for many musicians. It’s a tough business — a record contract is akin to getting a loan to create something, paying the money back with interest and realizing that you not only don’t and never will own your product, but that your lenders control your life. This is how record companies work.

At the height of his career, Jimi would still be singled out and harassed at airports because of the way he looked. In interviews with his ex-girlfriends, they expressed what a kind and almost innocent person he was. As he began to drink more alcohol, he became violent and towards the end, wound up alienating a lot of people. What everyone knew though was that his record company was sabotaging him. He was growing musically and became frustrated with the gimmicks that people constantly requested at performances. He began to want to combine what he called “earth” accompaniment with “space.”

This meant funk-driven rhythm, which is an African-American creation, combined with the psychedelic melodic sounds he made on his guitar. Today this is called Funk Rock, and it still doesn’t have a genre on the Billboard Music list. When he started gravitating towards the Black musicians who could play this music, crazy things started happening. The members of his last band, Band of Gypsies, swear that before shows, management slipped him acid without his knowledge. A few months prior to his death, at a show that he was contractually forced to do, Jimi walked off the stage after only two songs saying, “I’ve been dead a long time.” Like fellow Sag Little Richard said, Jimi wanted to take us higher than drugs.

Sculpture of Bruce Lee at the Avenue of Stars, Hong Kong. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
Sculpture of Bruce Lee at the Avenue of Stars, Hong Kong. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

I have seen this personality trait in many Fire/Water combinations, like our next Sag birthday, Bruce Lee. Oh gosh, I was in love with Bruce Lee when I was a girl! Bruce was a Sag Sun/Scorpio Moon combination. He started his film career as an infant and rose to infamy in Hong Kong long before he was a star in America because, well, basically he could kick anyone’s ass.

Seriously, this 5’7″ 135 lb. man never lost a fight. He studied first under his father and then with Master Sifu Yip Man and left Hong Kong for America as a boxing champion and Cha-Cha champion. Despite his obvious physical prowess though (Sun in 1st house conjunct Sag AS; Moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars in Scorpio), Bruce went to University in Seattle in Washington and studied philosophy and drama. He was always hungry for knowledge and read insatiably. After years of struggling in racist Hollywood, the end result of which was having his idea for the TV show “Kung Fu” stolen — with the added insult of giving the character to a white man — he returned to Hong Kong to pursue his film career.

The movies he made there are the films that I eagerly anticipated seeing on Sunday afternoons as a child. Living in a violent and abusive environment at the time made this a special treat, because I could live out my fantasies of beating up all the people who were hurting me. I could tell that he was not a big guy — I am very petite — and this was just thrilling to me. What I am most impressed by and almost relieved to find out now after weeks of research, is that he was the hero in real life that he was on screen.

He had a relationship with a Taiwanese actress in Hong-Kong named Betty Ting, and she wrote and starred in a movie dealing with the last few weeks of his life and their relationship. She had been boxed in as a “sex symbol” and suffered the abuse and mistreatment from men in the film industry and in the public that seems to come along with that title. Bruce saved her from being raped and beaten by a mob of men on two occasions, and was able to get her a serious role in one of his films. He received a lot of flak for trying to help a woman.

As a matter of fact, he got into many street fights defending those who couldn’t defend themselves. He was such a good fighter because he developed a style of Kung-Fu that deviated from the traditional styles embraced by Chinese culture; it emphasized particular movements copied from animal behavior. Bruce realized that much of it was a waste of time, and that concentrating on speed and strength would make you able to dominate anyone fighting in any style. This was insulting to the older Chinese Masters, and he was alienated from that community as well. Bruce had a dominant Sun/Jupiter chart and all the references to “Dragon” in his movies are relevant to him being born in the year of the Dragon at the hour of the Dragon in Chinese Astrology. The Dragon is associated with the sign of Leo in Western Astrology, and true to this archetype, Bruce Lee shined!

Richard Pryor in 1986. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
Richard Pryor in 1986. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Our last and my second favorite Sag of the day is Richard Pryor. I know he was a little crazy, a drug addict, prone to abuse and an absentee Dad, but I still love him. Precisely because the reason we know this about him is that he told us. He told us his mother was a prostitute, his father a pimp, and towards the end of his life, actually revealed that he had been molested as a child. (Richard had Venus, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn square his Pluto — it seems he was here to pay the piper.)

He even joked in a comedy routine once about realizing in a drug-haze that he was fucking a man. Those of us from the black community know that is deep. This is not something most black men feel they can admit, and especially not in front of a crowd of hundreds. It is Richard’s honesty about how fucked up he was and how fucked up the world was — and is — that made us love him. He candidly talked about all the things that very few of us want to discuss — racism, self-hatred, and the mostly hidden, intense pain that many of us are in.

And he made us laugh while he did it. Richard probably single-handedly gave about a centuries’ worth evolutionary push for race-relations, and I feel this is valuable beyond what I can express. He actually had a Sun/Rising Fire/Water combo of Sag and Pisces with a Capricorn moon in his tenth house, so I know that he was destined to be someone whose personal triumphs and defeats were a part of his public persona. I have noticed that placements in Capricorn tend to give longevity, and Richard made it to 65 after a life-time of drug-abuse and pain. His wife says he died with a smile on his face!

So to all these Sun and Rising Sagittarians, including the last happy birthday to my favorite Sag of all, my father, I proclaim an exuberant and thankful warrior’s cry of gratitude for the day you came to earth!

Yours & truly,

Rahmana Finney

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