I am supposed to be finding my place in the astrological world. One place I didn't want to be was writing about Algol, astro obituaries or star sign columns. And yet these seem to be what is in front of me: Joe Cocker, with his Sun conjunct Algol and his Saturn opposite the Galactic Centre (about which I had only posted about hours before his actual death), dies and the AA Journal dedicates nearly a whole issue to Star Sign columns.
Cocker (shown left, photo and sources from Wikipedia) was born on 20 May 1944 at 5:00am in Sheffield (Rodding rating: A; Collector: Blackwell) with Jupiter in Leo and Saturn in Gemini. Jupiter in Leo, is ruled by the Sun in Taurus conjunct the dreaded fixed star Algol. It was his unique voice we will remember him for and whilst information about his formative years seem to be lacking it is known he began singing at around the time of his first, single shot Jupiter return in his 12th year. In 1960, after his single shot Saturn opposition and after Jupiter had made a series of three oppositions to his natal Sun, Saturn was on his midheaven. During the time of his youthful struggles to make it in the music industry as part of the group The Cavaliers in 1960, transit Jupiter had opposed his natal Saturn in Gemini. Saturn in Gemini has grave doubts about its intellectual abilities, thus Transit Jupiter in boisterous Sagittarius would have been tamed. Cocker became an apprentice gas fitter shortly after this, seemingly leaving a career in music behind. Rather fitting as 1960 came to an end, transit Jupiter had moved into Capricorn and formed a square to its natal position.
Jupiter and Saturn, in and out of conjunction in 1961, opposed his natal Mars as he continued to pursue duel careers in gas fitting and music. By 1966, as Jupiter was conjunct to first Mars and then his North Node three times, he hit the big time with a re-arranged recording of "With a Little Help From my Friends". The record eventually reached gold stars in 1969 just in time for Jupiter to reach conjunction with his natal Neptune. The die had been cast: music had won out over gas fitting. However, transiting Saturn in Taurus over the next year made an uncomfortable conjunction to his natal Venus and a square to his natal Jupiter. He was simply unable to enjoy his success and fell into a depression and alcohol addiction. He took a two year break.
In October 1972, as transiting Jupiter in Capricorn squared his natal Neptune, he was arrested for possession of cannabis and was ordered to leave Australia and upped his addictions to include heroin. Although often labelled as a minor aspect, transit Saturn made a semi square to his natal Sun as transit Jupiter made a semi square to his natal Moon. Semi squares frequently manifest with frustration and Cocker's lacklustre live performances were hampered by his alcoholism. By 1976, Saturn and Jupiter were still playing havoc with his natal Mars and he found himself severely in debt and with John Belushi taking the piss out of him on Saturday Night Live.
Cocker's third Jupiter return marked a turning point. It began with a Woodstock in Europe tour that featured many of the same performers from original festival line up a decade before. In 1982, as transit Jupiter opposed his natal Mercury in Taurus 3 times, Cocker hit it big with Jennifer Warnes with "Up Where We Belong," the theme to An Officer and a Gentleman.
Two Jupiter cycles after the die had been cast to turn him into a musical performer, he was named Best British Male Performer at the 1993 Brit Awards when Jupiter again was conjunct to his natal Neptune. Cocker, of course, continued performing and continued to receive accolades for his performances.
He died of lung cancer today as Saturn opposed his Sun conjunct Algol: the gruff, painfully raw voice, immortalised.
I haven't quite decided how I should respond to the AA publishing a star sign column but I imagine I will find inspiration at some point.