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Astrology at Work: James Dean

The other day I had to drive to a city an hour away from my home for a meeting. I knew that I had some pretty serious Mars aspects going on that day, and since hard aspects from Mars can indicate conflict and accidents caused by going too fast, I allowed plenty of extra time and took extra care driving. As it turned out, even though I thought I knew where I was going, I got lost and ended up arriving late, but not nearly as late as I could have been and in one piece.

That’s one of the advantages of being an astrologer. You can see in advance periods of time when accidents and errors are likely to disrupt your life. Some astrologers might have refused to travel under the aspects that were impacting my chart that day. I opted for driving but taking precautions, and it worked out okay.

That brings me to one of the most famous auto collisions in pop culture history: the crash in 1955 that killed "Rebel Without a Cause Actor", James Dean. Any astrologer looking at Dean’s horoscope and the aspects impacting it would have strenuously warned the actor against driving his Porsche 550 Spyder that day. (Click on James Dean to see a double chart with Dean’s natal horoscope in the center and the chart for the accident on the outside.)

First of all, we have transiting Mercury is just leaving a conjunction with transiting Neptune. Dean was planning to participate in a road race in Salinas, CA that day. The original plan was to tow the Spyder to the race. Dean decided to drive it, instead. Decisions made under a Mercury-to-Neptune aspect are often poorly reasoned and sometime just plain stupid.

Then we have transiting Uranus on Dean’s Mars. Dean was a life-long fan of road racing and speed. That’s evident from the fact that he has his natal Uranus on his Aries Ascendant. The first thing this aspect tells us is that Dean is going to get the opportunity to enjoy that fascination. He had just bought the Spyder and recently finished shooting “Giant”. During the shooting Dean had been forbidden from racing by the director. Now he was free to take risks.

Of course, Uranus conjunct natal Mars is also indicative of rash decisions, sudden changes and accidents, so it also represents our first warning of danger. I wouldn’t say that this conjunction alone would be enough for me to predict dire consequences if Dean drove that day, but it would have certainly made any astrologer apprehensive.

What would have sealed to deal, however, is the fact that we have transiting Saturn square Dean’s natal Sun. That aspect often brings a severe challenge to one’s physical well-being. To make matters worse. Saturn transiting Dean’s Eight House, the sector often associated with death. It also aspects Dean’s Pluto and Saturn. The aspects are “good” aspects, but the planets involved are typically considered negative. They create a theme that would have had any astrologer wringing his or her hands.

I could discuss this further, but the aspect I’ve just mentioned would have certainly been enough for any astrologer to warn Dean against driving that day, or at least to drive with extra, extra caution. But given Dean’s risk-taking persona (Uranus on an Aries Ascendant) and the fact that he was a hard-headed Aquarian by Sun sign, I’m not sure he would have listened. He got the same advice from his mechanic, for different reasons, and ignored it. The mechanic was in the car with Dean when the crash that killed the actor occurred. An astrologer would have taken a cab.

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