My younger readers may not know anything about Dr. John the Night Tripper, whose Voodoo-styled brand of psychedelic rock was one of the more intriguing sounds to come out of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Although he continued to play music throughout his life and won six Grammy awards, the magical persona of the New Orleans shaman draped in feathers and beads was uniquely suited to the cultural revolution of the Uranus/Pluto conjunction in Virgo that marked the 1960s and early 1970s.
Dr. John (born Malcolm John Rebennack Jr – Dr. John was his stage persona) died on June 6th of this year. We don’t know his time of birth so we don’t know his ascendant (rising sign), but with his birth date (November 20, 1941) and place (New Orleans) we can see that he was born with the Sun in Scorpio, the sign that rules intense experiences that transform us from the inside out. His Sun was opposite Uranus, the planet which expires radical behavior. Individuals with strong Sun/Uranus contacts are often iconoclasts, blazing their own trail, and that was certainly true of Dr. John. He was a rebel from his early years, quitting school to play music and develop his unique style. He refused to follow rules of the musician’s union and was subsequently kicked out.
Saturn conjoins Uranus in the chart, combining the Saturnine influence of repression and restriction with the urge to break out of routines and shackles that Uranus inspires. These two planets are naturally in conflict with each other, and they are each opposite the Sun which makes for a complex personality. Saturn opposing the Sun puts a lot of pressure on an individual towards perfection and material success, but also bestows a fair amount of self-criticism and self-doubt. In his early 20s he became a drug addict and dealer and went to prison for two years when transiting Uranus set off that complex system in his chart.
But Neptune, the planet that inspires creativity as well as spirituality, harmonized with that challenging planetary system, encouraging the brilliant and ever-changing expressions of musical talent that drove his life and brought such innovation to the musical evolution of the past 50 years.