August 6, 1928 Pittsburgh, PA 6:30 am
Artist and icon Andy Warhol would be 79 today. 2007 has been a big year for interest in his art, with the movie “Factory Girl”, starring Libra Guy Pearce and Capricorn Sienna Miller, finally hitting theaters, and a celebration of his work in New York marking the 20th anniversary of his death this past February. There are many works devoted to thoughtful analysis of his childhood, influences, writing, films, art and lifestyle, so I will not cover much biography here, but rather look at some of the idiosyncrasies in his birthchart.
The first thing one notices about his chart is the grand fire sign trine of his sun in Leo in the 12th house, his moon in Aries in the 9th house and Saturn in Saggitarius in the 5th house. Warhol’s rising sign is Leo, and in addition to the sun, Venus, Mercury and Neptune are also in Leo. This is a whole lot of fire sign energy. The only other planets in the chart are Pluto in Cancer, Uranus conjunct the moon in Aries, and both Jupiter and Mars in Taurus. Already we see a very fixed, very creative person. Mars and Jupiter in Taurus grace him with enough solid artistic talent and know-how to harness and manifest all of his vibrant fire sign creativity.
One strange thing about this chart is that it would seem to indicate an extemely extrovered, even aggressive man. Warhol is usually described as a bit shy and quiet, and was famous for being elusive with the press and members of the art world, rarely giving overblown artsy explanations for any of his work, or any explanation at all. Leos crave recognition and Aries never hold back what is on their mind, so this seems strange. The explanation lies in the distribution of planets in Leo through the 12th and 1st houses. Venus, planet of art and beauty, conjunct Nepture, a higher octave, or expression, of the same energy as Venus, in the 1st house is a very strong placement. It shows he was know for and percieved as a visionary and inspired soul. The first house is a very public house in astrology, ruling appearance, exterior personality, and to a certain extent lifestyle. His lifestyle, his art and his vision was indeed very public, and Warhol became synomous with them, watery Neptune blurring the boundaries of his life and his art. The Factory, his famous studio and hangout in New York, further encouraged this public/private blending of life and art. This placement obviously also influenced his fashion choices, as he was very vain and concerned about his apearance, always wearing a platinum wig and perfectly tailored clothes.
But there was another Warhol too. The sun and Mercury in Leo are in his 12th house, a very private, very magical and un-knowable place presided over by Pisces and Neptune. Mercury, planet of communication, in the 12th house and removed from the ascendant, shows his reluctance to elaborate publicly on his life and work. And indeed he was a private man. While others knew him as an eccentric who ruled the nightlife scene, very few saw the charitable, religious Warhol, who was a regular at Catholic mass. His creative partner, Gerard Malanga, was a Pisces and related to Warhol at this level. It would seem he chose to let his bold Venus/Neptune conjunction in the 1st house do his talking for him and keep his true reflections more hidden. This was not a hyper-controlled Scorpio-like form of silence, though undoubtedly he understood gains that could come by keeping people guessing, rather a more aloof form of privacy.
Saturn in the 5th house, the natural home of Leo and domain of personal creativity, shows that perhaps his work was less effortless than it may seem to others. Especially given his private conservative relgious beliefs, he may have struggled internally with some of his more envelope-pushing work. Saturn is the planet of staying power, however, and this position indicates the enduring importance of his art. The moon conjunct Uranus in the 9th house in Aries, is the evidence of Andy the socialite. He loved chance encounters, meeting new people of diverse backgrounds and loving them and leaving them, energetically speaking, as whimsically as only someone with a moon in Aries could do. The party always had to keep moving.
And just as his bold Venus/Neptune conjunction in the 1st house had ensured he would be recognized as a visionary artist, his Mars, planet of action, and Jupiter, planet of luck, in his 10th house of career and reputation, determined that he would gain the respect of those in the art world and gain commercial success. Warhol’s chart is a testament to the power of the fixed signs. With six planets in Leo and Taurus, Andy always knew what he wanted and how to get it and never considered changing or amending his work or lifestyle. After being dissapointed by the disapproval of his lifestyle by other artists early in his career he decided, “There was nothing I could say to that. It was all so true. So I decided I just wasn’t going to care, because those were all the things I didn’t want to change anyway, that I didn’t think I ‘should’ want to change… other people could change their attitudes but not me.” (Warhol, “Popism”). Lets his words be an inspiration to all young artists.